Canada’s airports look to work with the government on a plan for restart of air travel and ensuring Canada emerges from the pandemic with a financially healthy air system
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON, April 13, 2021 The Canadian Airports Council today welcomed the federal government announcement of support for Air Canada as an important step to support the air sector and rebuild Canada’s national aviation system post-pandemic.
“Canada clamped down on travel to keep Canadians safe, which has had an immediate and devastating impact on the air sector and prospects for post-pandemic recovery,” said Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council. “Support for Air Canada is a positive sign of the federal government’s commitment and confidence in Canada’s air sector. A plan to restart travel when it is safe to do so and financial support for other parts of the sector are still needed.”
The program announced on Thursday addresses impacts of the pandemic on 20 regional airports and the communities they serve through commitments to restore suspended routes. The CAC looks forward to continued progress in discussions between the federal government with other air carrier partners, which also play an important role in regional and global connectivity and competitive choice for consumers.
“Canada’s airports are pleased that the government is taking steps to backstop aviation and help secure its future, with a welcome focus on ensuring connectivity to all regions in discussions with air carriers,” Mr. Gooch said. “Canada’s complex aviation eco-system also requires strong airports and air navigation services to provide safe, secure and competitive air services to Canadian communities. There is still work to be done to ensure we can emerge from the pandemic ready to support the recovery, and we hope to see this addressed further in next week’s federal budget.”
Canada’s airports rely on passengers for about 90 percent of their revenue. While travel is only at about 10 per cent or pre-pandemic levels, airports have remained fully operational during the pandemic to maintain services for essential travellers and services such as firefighting, cargo (including vaccines) and medical personnel deployment. Canada’s airports expect to lose $5.5 billion in revenues and add $2.8 billion in pandemic-related debt by the end of 2021.
In its pre-budget submission, the CAC asked the government to take specific actions to protect and strengthen the airport network including:
- Working inclusively with Canada’s airports and industry partners on a plan to safely restart air travel when it is safe to do.
- Implementing a moratorium on ground lease rents and provide options for interest-free loans (or equivalent operational support) until the business recovers, which could take five years or longer.
- Expanding national transportation infrastructure funding to meet safety and security requirements and adapt to COVID-19 and climate change.
- Making permanent the elevated Airports Capital Assistance Program funding and expanded eligibility criteria to ensure sustainable recovery at Canada’s regional airports.
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.
Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets. In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Airports Council
613 274 0691 or 613 850 9118