By Emily McLeanPosted March 10, 2020 04:21:51Canada’s new federal government will announce on Tuesday it will transfer $100million worth of air traffic control services from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Belgrad, a move the country’s new prime minister says will help reduce traffic congestion and cut travel times.
Air Canada’s new fleet of Boeing 747-200 jets, which are operated by the Canadian government, will be based at Belgrade’s Olimpija Airport from the start of 2019.
It will operate in the Balkans as well as Europe, and will fly to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Vancouver, Canada’s largest airports.
The announcement is expected to be made in Belgrade during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the region, which is known for its political and economic clout.
The deal comes amid a crisis at Toronto’s downtown Pearson Airport that has been in the news for months as it has struggled to find a solution to a series of delays, including the arrival of more than 1,000 travellers in the first three days of March.
Airline officials have said the delays are due to the need to relocate the fleet from Toronto, and to cut costs and shorten the airport’s operating hours.
Air Transat, the private airline that operates the fleet, has said it will fly only to the U.S. and Canada as part of the deal, which could save the company $20 million per year.
It is unclear how much of the $100m will be transferred to Belgrad.
Belgrade Mayor Mihajlo Karpić said he could not disclose the details of the transfer until the deal is signed off on Tuesday, but said it would benefit the local economy.
“I’m really surprised that this money will be being used in Belgrad,” Karpíć said.
Airports in Belgrads capital city, Željko Plzen, are being used to handle the new fleet, which has a capacity of approximately 3,500 people.
Karpič, who is also the mayor of Belgrade, said Belgrade had a surplus of $5 million last year, so the money would be “a gift” to BelGRAT, which will be used to fund the purchase of new airliners.
“The Belgrade government is committed to building a future for Belgrade as a centre of the global aviation industry,” Karrpik said.
The Belgrams air traffic controllers have been in dispute with the airline over the years, and in recent years the two sides have been locked in a dispute over control of the airport, which was used to transfer passenger flights in the 1970s.”
This is not just a transfer, it’s a step forward.”
The Belgrams air traffic controllers have been in dispute with the airline over the years, and in recent years the two sides have been locked in a dispute over control of the airport, which was used to transfer passenger flights in the 1970s.