Air transportation in Canada - Statistics & Facts

As technology continues to enable the world to develop at a faster pace and to connect markets around the globe, the prosperity of transportation supply chains is a significant factor in a country’s economy. Considering Canada’s geographical position, air transportation is vital in providing easy access to urban and rural areas in Canada and also to international markets.


After shifting from a government-controlled system to a commercially market-driven industry, a set of prosperous business models was adopted from the United States and implemented here by Canadian airlines, thus accomplishing important improvements in the air transportation industry.

The largest Canadian airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, have secured more than 80 percent of the domestic market share. With more than 2.2 million passengers transported in January 2016, Air Canada generated over 13 billion Canadian dollars in passenger revenue and over 500 million Canadian dollars from cargo operations at the end of 2016.

WestJet is Canada’s main low-cost carrier, with close to 24 billion revenue passenger miles flown and almost 3.6 billion Canadian dollars in passenger revenue in 2016. However, due to the shortage of competition, Canadians still pay considerably high airfares.

Canada’s airports and airlines are regularly ranked among the best airlines worldwide. In the last couple of years, Canada was among the leading countries with the highest quality in air transport infrastructure; the sector benefits from increasing profits and passenger traffic each year. The Canadian air transportation industry carries over 120 million passengers worldwide every year and handles over one million metric tons of freight. Airports such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary or Montréal are among the busiest Canadian airports in terms of passenger and or freight traffic. By 2035, the number of domestic passengers traveling from, to or within Canada is expected to grow to more than 51 million.

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