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Rear air transport ;gional: « the solution must come from us», say elected officials

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The Quebec government did not want to specify its timetable for resolving the regional air transport issue. (Archive photo)


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While the air carrier Pascan ended its direct flights from Mont-Joli to Quebec, Montreal and Sept-Îles on Friday, elected officials in the region are sad to see the air transport offer further reduced in the region. ;Eastern Quebec. And their patience seems to have reached its limits. Several elected officials think that the solution to reestablishing the air link to major centers must go through the regions themselves.

The Pascan company claims to have reduced its route offering due to the end of the Assistance Program for the Maintenance of Regional Air Services, put in place by the provincial government during the pandemic.

The mayor of Rimouski, Guy Caron, believes that it is now time to stop waiting for gifts from Quebec and Ottawa . According to him, this temporary financial aid clearly does not prioritize the regions.

If we, for our part, have a turnkey solution that we can present by saying: ''Here, we are ready to take charge. Give us the necessary funds that will allow us to make this solution viable.'' We're going to do it ourselves. We are there now, says Mr. Caron.

This umpteenth reduction in services revives the idea of ​​Régionair, which has remained on the shelf since the end of Air Canada's regional services three years ago. This regional air transport service project plans to collaborate with carriers to provide service to all of Eastern Quebec.

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The president of the Intermunicipal Authority of the Mont-Joli regional airport, Bruno Paradis, insists: The solution must start from us, with us.

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Bruno Paradis, president of the intermunicipal board of the Mont-Joli regional airport, would like elected officials to devote themselves more to development rather than to the conservation of achievements. (Archive photo)

The Intermunicipal Authority of the regional airport resumed its discussions this week with the Quebec Ministry of Transport.< /p>

If we move forward with a project like Régionair, we want a guaranteed three or five years so that people regain confidence and then we can canvass the territory, says Mr. Paradis.

We give a service, we stop it, we give it, we x27;stop, it's reliable, it's not reliable, it exists, it doesn't exist… It's the same thing for years.

A quote from Bruno Paradis, president of the Intermunicipal Authority of the Mont-Joli regional airport

The former mayor of Sept-Îles Réjean Porlier, who defended the TREQ air transport cooperative project, deplores what he considers to be a lack of listening on the part of the Legault government in this matter.

For his part, the deputy for René-Lévesque, Yves Montigny, wants to be reassuring: he says he is negotiating with other carriers to resolve the situation.

The desire of the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, is very clear: he wants daily connections to the major airports in the regions, at $500 round trip , accessible to citizens every day of the week.

A quote from Yves Montigny, MP for René-Lévesque

As soon as an agreement is reached, the service can begin, he says.

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The MP for René-Lévesque, Yves Montigny, affirms that as soon as a service agreement is signed with a carrier, the service will be able to resume. (Archive photo)

For his part, Bruno Paradis prefers to rebuild a solid and durable system. If there is a firm and sincere desire to restore the service in the long term, I prefer that we take more time to find a lasting solution.

He explains that elected officials devote a lot of time and energy to maintaining what has been achieved rather than to development. We would like a little break, he says.

For its part, the Quebec government did not want to specify its relative timeline to the resolution of the regional air transport file.

With information from Perrine Bullant

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