June 9, 2022
$500 round-trip flight cap now in place for Québec RAAP
— By Luc Boily
The Regional Air Access Program (PAAR) unveiled last April 19 by the Québec government has been launched on June 1. The PAAR caps the cost of plane tickets for all travel within the province to the regions, as a way to increase tourism to rural areas located far from the big cities. The program has two components.
First, residents of remote regions – such as Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Côte-Nord, the Gaspé Peninsula, Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean and the James Bay Cree Territories – are eligible for a rebate of between 30 percent and 60 percent after they buy tickets for in-province flights (without maximum annual reimbursement amount). Second, those living elsewhere are able to buy round-trip tickets directly from airlines to remote regions for $500 (or one-way tickets for $250). The number of tickets offered at that prime rate is limited to three round trips (or six one-way tickets) per person per year, and travellers must start or end their flights at airports in Québec City or the Montréal region.
Only flights for personal purposes are eligible for the discounted fares. In order to stimulate the regional economy and the return of tourist activities, the offer is also available to travellers from outside Québec and to foreign students. “It’s a significant step for the tourism industry, it’s a significant step for the regional aviation industry, and it’s also a significant step for all of Québec,” told Transport Minister François Bonnardel to reporters in Québec City at the press event last week. Bonnardel added the $500 cap on ticket prices also applies to trips that require connecting flights. Note that the PAAR will be in effect until March 31, 2024. Its budget is $86 million over two years. Almost 100,000 tickets will be available to roughly 20 destinations during the program’s first year.