Canada’s Small Airports Applaud Federal Decision to Invest in Safety Infrastructure

New federal funding rules open eligibility to airports


OTTAWA – Canada’s airports applaud the Government of Canada’s recent investments in infrastructure at several of Canada’s small airports. The investments support continued safe, efficient, comfortable air access for travellers in these communities.

“Small airports across the country are integral to tourism and trade in the communities they serve,” said Sam Samaddar, chair of the Canadian Airports Council (CAC) and airport director of the Kelowna International Airport. “They connect Canada’s smaller communities to larger centres, as economic enablers contributing to job creation and regional development. But many have faced greater challenges in funding capital needs while keeping costs for travellers low.”

When 21 of Canada’s airports were transferred from the federal government to privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports, it was on the basis that they be financially self-sufficient for all operating and capital costs. Since the early 1990s, these airports have collectively invested $25 billion on infrastructure but smaller airports with lower traffic volumes have sometimes found it a challenge to cover both operating and capital costs on an ongoing basis.

Funding criteria for the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) changed this dynamic, enabling small NAS airports to continue to invest in safety and comfort for travellers, while keeping costs to users low. For larger airports, the NTCF allows for federal participation in airport projects that support the flow of travellers and cargo by reducing bottlenecks, and addressing capacity issues, lessening the financial burden on air travellers.

“Canada’s airports’ model has allowed airports to invest in their facilities, improve services for travellers and ensure capacity for the tremendous growth in air traffic we have seen over the past 25 years,” said Atlantic Canada Airports Association (ACAA) President Reg Wright, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Gander International Airport. “Infrastructure funding reform has been an ACAA priority for several years. Allowing airports to participate in federal funding programs makes sense, we are integral to Canada’s transportation system and drive economic development in our communities.”

So far, the federal government has announced funding for four NAS airports from the NTCF:

  • $3.3 million to support important updates to the main taxiway at London International Airport;
  • $5 million for resurfacing of a runway and the adjoining taxiways and aprons at the Gander International Airport;
  • $10 million to rehabilitate two runways, the public taxiway and aprons, and the addition of Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) to the Saint John Airport; and
  • $8.1 million to rehabilitate the Charlottetown Airport’s main runway and connecting taxiways

The federal government is also providing the Fredericton International Airport with $9 million from the New Building Canada Fund to expand its terminal building by 50 per cent to address a 33 per cent jump in passenger traffic in the past five years.

Funding from the Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) has also been announced for safety related projects at CAC member airports such as the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation, Red Deer Airport and the Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport.

About the Atlantic Canada Airports Association

The ACAA represents 13 airports in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The region’s airports nearly 8 million passengers and approximately 60,000 metric tons of cargo annually and account for over 46,000 jobs in the region. Atlantic Canada’s airports are significant economic generators with passenger and cargo traffic generating over $4.4 billion annually into the Atlantic Canada economy.

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), the voice for Canada’s airports community, has 53 members representing more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada. Canada’s NAS airports are independently operated by non-share capital corporations that reinvest all financial surpluses back into the airport for the benefit of users and the community.

Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation’s air cargo and international passenger traffic, and 95% of domestic passenger traffic.

They provide 194,000 direct jobs, $19 billion to the national GDP and $48 billion in direct economic activity. They also provide municipal, provincial and federal governments $6.9 billion in tax revenues each year.

– 30 –

For more information:
Chris Phelan
Vice-President, Security and Industry Affairs
Canadian Airports Council
(613) 560-9302 ext 12
(613) 852-1103

Monette Pasher
Executive Director
Atlantic Canada Airports Association
(902) 802-5651