Canada's New Government funds five new airport safety projects in Quebec



    MONTREAL, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister
of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced today that more than
$1.2 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program funds have been made
available for projects to improve safety at Baie Comeau, Inukjuak, Rimouski,
Mont-Joli and Gaspé airports.
    "Today's announced funds contribute to the safety of air transport and
clearly illustrate the commitment of Canada's New Government to communities,"
said Minister Cannon. "The safety enhancements will help the five airports
better meet the tourism and travel needs of these Quebec regions."
    The Airports Capital Assistance Program finances capital projects related
to safety, asset protection and operating cost reduction. Eligible airports
must have year-round, regularly scheduled passenger service, meet Transport
Canada airport certification requirements and not be owned or operated by the
Government of Canada.

    
    The money will be distributed to airports in:

    - Baie-Comeau, where $482,380 will purchase a snowblower.
    - Gaspé, where $129,000 will finance the construction of a sand shed.
    - Inukjuak, where $125,750 will purchase a compactor.
    - Mont-Joli, where $183,500 will purchase a runway sweeper.
    - Rimouski, where $361,725 will purchase a loader with snowblower and
      reversible snowplow.

    "The safety and security of the traveling public is a top priority for
Canada's New Government," said Minister Cannon. "These projects will improve
airport safety and protect Canadians. They will also boost the economic
potential of the airports and surrounding communities."

    Backgrounders on the Airports Capital Assistance Program and the selected
Quebec projects are attached.


                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                 AIRPORTS CAPITAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ACAP)
                      FUNDS FIVE NEW PROJECTS IN QUEBEC
                      ---------------------------------

    The Baie-Comeau Airport, which offers year-round regularly scheduled
passenger service to Manicouagan Regional County, is receiving funding under
ACAP for the first time. Today's announced $482,380 will pay for the purchase
of a snowblower.
    To date, the Gaspé Airport has received ACAP funding for seven projects
pertaining to safety, asset protection and reduced operating costs. Today's
announced $129,000 funding will finance the construction of a sand shed.
    Inukjuak Airport has received its second Airports Capital Assistance ACAP
award, for a total of $2.1 million. Today's announced $125,750 ACAP funding
will allow the purchase of a compactor. Transports Quebec, owner of Inukjuak
Airport, has entrusted the Kativik Regional Government with its management and
maintenance. The airport is used for medical evacuations, and Air Inuit
provides year-round regularly scheduled passenger service to the region.
    Today's announced ACAP funding of $183,500 will equip the Mont-Joli
Airport with a new runway sweeper. This equipment for eastern Quebec's busiest
airport will help its new owner, La régie intermunicipale de l'aéroport
régional de Mont-Joli, improve air services that strengthen the region's
tourism and trade activities.
    To date, Rimouski Airport has received some $4.9 million under ACAP to
finance four projects pertaining to safety, asset protection and reduced
operating costs for its airport. Today's $361,725 will finance the purchase of
a loader with snowblower and reversible snowplow.

                                                                 April 2007



                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                     AIRPORTS CAPITAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
                     -----------------------------------

    The Airports Capital Assistance Program provides funding for capital
projects related to safety, asset protection and operating cost reduction. To
be eligible, an airport must receive year-round regularly scheduled passenger
service, meet Transport Canada airport certification requirements and not be
owned or operated by the Government of Canada.
    The current five-year program will allocate $190 million by March 2010 -
at an average of $38 million per year. Contributions are considered for the
following types of projects:
    First priority projects include safety-related airside projects, such as
rehabilitation of runways, taxiways, aprons, lighting and other utilities,
visual aids and sand storage sheds. This category also includes related site
preparation and environmental costs, aircraft firefighting vehicles and
ancillary equipment and equipment shelters that are necessary to maintain the
level of protection required by regulation.
    Second priority projects include heavy safety-related airside mobile
equipment, such as runway snowblowers, runway snowplows, runway sweepers,
spreaders and decelerometers (winter friction testing devices), and heavy
airside mobile equipment shelters.
    Third priority projects include safety-related heavy air terminal building
and groundside projects, such as sprinkler systems, asbestos removal and
barrier-free access.
    Fourth priority projects include asset protection and refurbishing,
operating cost reduction related to air terminal building or groundside
access.
    Transport Canada also sets priorities based on detailed technical analyses
of facility conditions and maintenance histories, airport traffic and
certification requirements.
    To be eligible, projects must maintain or improve safety levels, protect
airport assets or significantly reduce operating costs. Projects must also
meet accepted engineering practices and be justified on the basis of current
demand. Airport facility expansion projects will only be considered if the
current facilities have a potentially negative impact on safety at the
airport.
    Through the Airports Capital Assistance Program, the Government of Canada
is improving airport safety, as well as helping the economic viability of this
important aspect of Canada's transportation infrastructure.
    The Airports Capital Assistance Program is part of the National Airports
Policy, which calls for the commercialization of designated Canadian airports,
through divestiture to community interests. The policy enables communities to
take greater advantage of their airports, reduce costs, tailor levels of
service to local demand, and attract new and different types of business.

                                                                 April 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Contact: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary,
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa,
(613) 991-0700; François-Nicolas Asselin, Communications, Transport Canada,
Dorval, (514) 633-2741; Transport Canada is on-line at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe
to news releases and speeches at http://apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep
up-to-date on the latest news from Transport Canada; This news release is
available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities


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