Canadians are proud of their airports and have a good grasp of the positive contributions airports make to their lives. But, research has also identified some misconceptions about who operates airports and how they are managed, both by the general public and by frequent travellers. Despite popular beliefs, Canada’s airports are not run by government, nor are they profit-making enterprises. They are in fact not-for-profit, non-share capital corporations, with a board of directors made up of local leaders who must reinvest all revenues.
More than two thirds of Canadians say they have a positive or somewhat positive overall impression of airports. A very comfortable majority of Canadians say that airports as part of Canada’s transportation network is important or somewhat important, and say the same of the role of airports to international trade. However, a majority of Canadians also say that long wait times at security check points and the cost of travelling out of one’s area airport have worsened over the past five years.
Impressions of airports and their operation
- Close to seven in ten Canadians have a positive or somewhat positive impression of Canadian airports – Close to seven in ten Canadians say they have a positive (32%) or somewhat positive (36%) overall impression of Canadian airports, while 15 per cent say they have a neutral impression. More than one in ten Canadians have a negative (four per cent) or somewhat negative (11%) impression, and three per cent are unsure. These results are consistent with previous waves.
- More than one in five Canadians say the reason for their positive impression of Canadian airports is that they are efficient/well-run/clean – When asked the reasons for their overall impressions of Canadian airports, 15 per cent of Canadians say it is because they are efficient/well-run-clean and 14 per cent say it’s because they never had a problem. Other mentions include don’t travel too much (eight per cent), they are ok (seven per cent), and disorganized (six per cent). These results are consistent with previous waves.
- Four in ten Canadians say the federal government is primarily responsible for the operation of major airports – When asked who is primarily responsible for operating major airports in Canada, 44 per cent of Canadians say the Federal government, followed by for-profit corporations (17%), local not-for-profit corporations (10%), provincial/local government (seven per cent), and airlines (three per cent). Sixteen per cent are unsure.
Importance of airport roles
- Over nine in ten Canadians feel that airports as part of Canada’s transportation network are important or somewhat important – When asked about the importance of several airport roles, those given the highest intensity of importance were airports as part of Canada’s transportation network (85% important, 14% somewhat important), the role of airports to international trade (70% important, 25% somewhat important) and the role of airports in welcoming visitors (67% important, 25% somewhat important). The airport role that received the lowest intensity, although still strong, is the role of airports in the local community (48% important, 39% somewhat important).
Impressions of airport concerns and complaints
- Close to one in three Canadians rank the cost of travelling out of one’s area airport as the top concern regarding air travel – When asked to rank a series of situations in terms of concern, the top first ranked concerns are the cost of travelling out of one’s area airport (32%), long wait times at security check points (18%), lack of flight options locally (14%), and cancelled or delayed flights (14%).
- Just under seven in ten Canadians say that the cost of travelling our of one’s area airport has gotten worse – When asked if certain situations/complaints have been getting better or worse over the past five years, 68 per cent of Canadians say that the cost of traveling out of one’s area airport has worsened, while 57 say the same of long wait times at security.