I'm writing for two reasons. One to thank you for running the very nice report on page 9 of the June COPA Flight regarding COPA Flight 28 from Burlington. If any other local (or not-so-local) COPA Flights are interested in such a tour, I'd be happy to set something up. Secondly, I feel compelled to respond, on behalf of Canadian parts Distributors and Approved Maintenance Organizations (AMO's), to Ken Armstrong's article on page 21 of the same issue. While I certainly don't speak on behalf of all such Canadian organizations, as past-president of CAADMO (the Canadian Association Aviation Distributors & Maintenance Organizations) I feel that I represent more than a few, most particularly, Leavens Aviation Inc.
Mr. Armstrong has upset this particular distributor, and likely many others. While his assertion that "now is the time to shop south of the border" isn't untrue, it should be pointed out that the bulk of the goods that most distributors and AMO's sell into the Canadian general aviation market come from south of the border. As a result, the strength of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar has, for the most part, been passed along to the Canadian consumer. I've been at Leavens for the past 23 years and for all of those 23 years our prices have been "pegged" to the U.S. dollar. As exchange has fluctuated, so have our prices (up and down).
As a matter of interest, when the Canadian dollar began it's dramatic rise, late 2002 / early 2003, many product lines were sold at a loss, or very little profit, because they were purchased when the Canadian dollar was weak and sold when the Canadian dollar had strengthened.
Other factors, of course, enter into any price comparisons (labour rates, regional tax rates, freight and customs brokerage costs, mark-ups, etc.), but I'd like to think that the Canadian distributor or AMO is competitive to most anything you'll find south of the border. At least give one or more of us a try before you head straight south. Doing business in Canada is tough enough as it is!
Leavens Aviation Inc.