Canada's new Government funds three new airport safety projects in Manitoba



    WINNIPEG, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government is investing
over $5 million to enhance safety at airports in Flin Flon, Shamattawa and
Gillam under the Airports Capital Assistance Program.
    "This Government is committed to improving the safety of air services in
communities across the country," said James Bezan, Member of Parliament for
Selkirk-Interlake, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "The safety enhancements will also
help these airports meet the growing cargo, tourism and travel needs in
northern Manitoba."
    The safety improvements include the rehabilitation of airside pavement
and the airside electrical system at Flin Flon Airport ($3,696,211), the
installation of a precision approach path indicator system at Shamattawa
Airport ($331,768) and airfield electrical system rehabilitation at Gillam
Airport ($1,263,627).
    "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."
    The Airports Capital Assistance Program finances capital projects related
to safety, asset protection and operating cost reduction. To be eligible,
airports must have year-round regularly scheduled passenger service, they must
meet Transport Canada airport certification requirements and they cannot be
owned or operated by the Government of Canada.
    Flin Flon Airport is owned and operated by the City of Flin Flon. The
airport provides a vital link to the thriving mining community of Flin Flon.
The airport serves both private and charter operations, and is also a tanker
base for water bombers. Calm Air and Bearskin Airlines both provide year-round
regularly scheduled passenger service. Including today's announcement, the
airport has received over $4.3 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program
funding since its transfer. Previously funded projects include the purchase of
heavy equipment and an upgrade of the airfield lighting system.
    Shamattawa Airport is owned and operated by the Province of Manitoba.
Perimeter Airlines and Calm Air provide year-round regularly scheduled
passenger service. Including today's announcement, the airport has received
over $800,000 in Airports Capital Assistance Program funding since its
transfer. Previously funded projects include the installation of a lighted
beacon and the purchase of heavy equipment.
    Gillam Airport is owned and operated by the Town of Gillam. The airport
provides a vital air link for the relatively remote town of Gillam. Calm Air
provides year-round regularly scheduled passenger service. Today's announced
$1,263,627 funding will cover the cost of the airfield electrical system
rehabilitation. In total, the airport has received over $2.8 million in
Airports Capital Assistance Program funding since its transfer. Previously
funded projects include the production and stockpiling of base material for
annual resurfacing and future rehabilitation of airside surfaces, and the
purchase of heavy equipment.

    A backgrounder on the Airports Capital Assistance Program is attached.
    

                                 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: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Lisa Hutniak, Communications and policy assistant, Office of James
Bezan, MP, (204) 785-6152; Susan McLennan, Communications, Transport Canada,
Winnipeg, (204) 983-6315; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.
Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep
up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada. This news release may be made
available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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