After nearly two years of negotiations, Dominican Republic and Canadian authorities sealed a historic new bilateral air transport agreement on Thursday that will free up established frequencies and routes and allow the designation of multiple airlines from both countries, with the aim of boosting connectivity, trade and tourism.
Under the new agreement, services will be determined based on market considerations, in addition to granting each other traffic rights up to the Sixth Freedom of the Air for passenger, cargo and combined flights, as well as provisions for ground handling services, charter flights and code-share operations.
Following the signing, airlines from both countries will be able to operate direct flights between any airport in the Dominican Republic and Canada.
«This agreement will improve direct connectivity between the two states and boost air transport as a tool to promote tourism and trade, vital for the country’s economic development,» said José Marte
Piantini, head of the Dominican Civil Aviation Board, who also highlighted the efforts of President Luis Abinader to «create more opportunities for national air transport operators».
The Canadian ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Christine Laberge, said that the agreement will contribute to bilateral relations and «will bring great economic benefits not only in tourism but also in areas such as mining, financial services, energy and manufacturing for Dominicans». Laberge explained that in 2022 around 715,000 Canadians visited the Caribbean country to enjoy its beaches.
Canada is the second most important exporting country for the Dominican Republic. In 2022, 9.2 million kilograms were exported by air, valued at USD 37.2 million. Vegetables accounted for 94% of the weight.
Flights between Canada and the Dominican Republic
In February between the two countries there will be an offer of 287,096 seats according to information obtained by Aviacionline through Cirium.
The market is made up exclusively of Canadian airlines, with Air Transat representing 40.4% of the seat capacity, followed by Sunwings with 31%, Air Canada with 18%, WestJet with 7.5% and Swoop with 3.1%.
Following the signing of the new open skies agreement, Arajet founder and CEO Victor Pacheco Méndez expressed in a Linkedin post that it «represents a before and after in Dominican commercial aviation».
«With this agreement, air services will be more affordable and efficient, there will not be a monopoly that will limit the decisions of airlines on routes and alliances and will also contribute to the strengthening of air transport and the creation of new opportunities and key relationships for both countries,» he added.
The Dominican ultra low-cost carrier, whose scheduled flights began in September 2022, aims to turn Santo Domingo into a hub with continental reach.
Arajet is already authorised to fly to more than 30 destinations (including Toronto), of which it already serves some 15, carrying more than 50,000 passengers in 2022. This year they plan to offer more than 500,000 seats on their network.