OTTAWA, ON, (Dec 11, 2020) – The Canadian Airports Council welcomed support for Canada’s airports and airlines in a report released today by the Industry Strategy Council titled, Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity for All Canadians: An Ambitious Growth Plan for Building a Digital, Sustainable and Innovative Economy.
In its report, the ISC noted that:
“The catastrophic drop in air travel worldwide has created ripple effects on Canadian airports and the country’s aerospace sector. Aviation and aerospace are highly inter-reliant as travellers affect aviation demand, which in turn drives demand for aerospace products and services. Both are in urgent need of targeted assistance to avoid collapse, especially in Canada, where our aviation industry relies on one of the few user-pay systems in the world. The current situation is placing the entire system at risk.
“Absent decisive action, Canada’s air transport system could emerge from COVID-19 in a much weaker state. Canadian air travellers could see reduced service, higher prices, diminished competition and a loss of connectivity. Higher ticket prices and reduced connectivity would place Canadian businesses that rely on air travel at a disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors.”
The report makes several recommendations for aviation and tourism, including:
- Provide longer-term support (e.g., until return to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity) to allow firms that are particularly impacted or of national strategic interest to meet fixed costs and allow for greening of fleets in line with other competitive jurisdictions (complementary and/or in replacement of existing programs).
- Provide targeted liquidity measures for critical aviation players, airports, and transit systems, to facilitate recovery in line with taxpayer expectations and what is done in other competitive jurisdictions.
- Accelerate Restart of domestic and international travel by adopting innovative ways to manage risks and rebuild confidence (e.g., rapid testing for international visitors from low-risk jurisdictions with significantly reduced quarantine times).
- Selectively reopen borders with low-risk countries (e.g., travel “bubbles” or “corridors”) and for highly critical workers (e.g., automotive workers) to accelerate recovery of air travel.
- Establish adequate safety protocols and invest in supporting infrastructure to increase consumer confidence (e.g., contactless journeys, seat reservation app for transit that help manage both capacity and safety, and fast testing to increase travel).
- Incentivize the adoption of intelligent systems and predictive technology to increase efficiency and reduce congestion (e.g., air traffic control systems that better manage air traffic in dense airspace, reduce aircraft noise, and reduce aircraft emissions, and modern signalling and automatic control systems to improve rail efficiency and safety).
“Canada’s airports thank the Industry Strategy Council for its extensive work to understand the challenges Canada’s air sector faces today, which are entirely the result of the devastating business impact of COVID-19,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. “The Council’s call for longer term support of the sector until there is a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity, and accelerated restart of domestic and international travel through innovations like rapid testing of international visitors and reduced quarantine times, are fully aligned with what airports and our partners in the sector have been saying for quite some time.”
The recently announced Fall Economic Statement was a good first step for Canada’s airports but more support will be needed. The statement provided funds for airport infrastructure and included deferrals and waivers for airport ground rent at 22 airports. However, rent measures were primarily for just one year in which rent would continue to be suppressed by low revenues. Rent will have to be repaid starting in 2024 at the four airports that pay 85 percent of ground rent. There was also no new information on federal plans for rapid testing at airports or a restart to international travel.
“Canada’s airports and industry partners need extended support for a protracted recovery, and a plan soon to restart air travel if our sector is to be prepared for Canadians when they are ready to travel again in greater volumes, and to meet the pent-up demand for travel we anticipate will start to return next summer,” said Mr. Gooch. “It is great to see the government’s Industry Strategy Council agrees with us on the need for longer term support and innovations like rapid testing.”
The CAC was among several air sector organizations to meet with the ISG, which was created by the Government of Canada to bring together business leaders with experienced perspectives from key sectors of our economy and engage with businesses and stakeholders.
About the Canadian Airports Council
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada.
Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s airports supported nearly 200,000 jobs, generating $13 billion in wages and $7 billion in taxes to all levels of government.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Airports Council
613 274 0691 613 850 9118