OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he’s concerned that a soaring number of Canadians are border-hopping to catch cheaper flights.
    
A new report from the Conference Board of Canada says about five million Canadians now cross the U.S. border by land every year to fly out of American airports.
   
It says higher airfares and fees and taxes in Canada, as well as differences in wages, aircraft prices and industry productivity makes it 30 per cent cheaper to fly out of the U.S.
    
The Conference Board says fees and taxes make up about 40 per cent of the cost of an airplane ticket in Canada.
    
Flaherty says the federal transport minister has been working on a “consultation project with the airlines, with the airport authorities in Canada to try to see what we can accomplish.”
   
The Conference Board report suggests that while other factors are beyond government control, small reductions in the airfare differential could lead to traffic gains for Canadian airports and carriers.
    
It estimates that changes to Canadian policies alone could bring more than two million passengers a year back to Canadian airports.