Canada's Small Airports Need Reliable, Permanent Source of Funds for Safety Infrastructure, CAC Says



    ACAP program provides vital funds for small airport infrastructure
    projects

    OTTAWA, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council, the voice
of Canada's airports, today commended the government for its $33 million
investment in 28 small airport infrastructure projects under the Airports
Capital Assistance Program (ACAP). However, the CAC called on the government
to fulfill an election campaign pledge to increase the amount of funds
provided to Canada's small airports for these projects, and to make ACAP
permanent.
    "Canada's small airports are vital economic and social gateways for
Canadian communities large and small, and many small airports are dependent on
the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) as their only source of
capital," said Canadian Airports Council President and CEO Jim Facette. "In
keeping with the government's commitment to the nation's transportation
infrastructure, a well-funded and permanent ACAP program is needed to ensure
the future of this vital part of our transportation network."
    Canada's smallest airports have more difficulty obtaining capital for
infrastructure maintenance and upgrades through commercial markets due to less
stable traffic, and fewer, less favourable balance sheets. In response to a
questionnaire posed by the CAC during the last federal election campaign, the
Conservative Party agreed with the CAC that the federal government must work
with provincial and municipal authorities to ensure the viability of small and
regional airports. The party pledged to increase the amount of funding
available under the ACAP program, and to simplify the application process.
    The CAC contends that small airports play an important role in the
national economy by connecting small communities with national and
international opportunities for trade. More than half the traffic at small
airports is business-related, and almost half the aircraft movements are cargo
flights. Small airports also play an essential emergency service role to their
communities through such services as MedEvac and firefighting.
    "Funding for Canada's small airports today is inadequate to meet the
long-term infrastructure needs of Canadian communities. Clearly change is
needed," said Mr. Facette. "A new small airport infrastructure strategy is
what Canada needs if our smaller airports are to fully enjoy access to the
opportunities for trade within Canada and with the world."
    The CAC is supportive of this government's ongoing efforts to invest in
an efficient transportation network and hope the new $8.8 billion Building
Canada fund announced in the recent 2007 budget will include an opportunity
for infrastructure projects at Canada's smaller airports.

    About the Canadian Airports Council

    The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.
Its 43 members represent more than 150 airports, including all of the National
Airports System (NAS) airports and most significant municipal airports in
every province and territory. Together, CAC members handle virtually all of
the nation's air cargo and international passenger traffic and 95% of domestic
passenger traffic. They create well in excess of $30 billion in economic
activity in the communities they serve. And more than 150,000 jobs are
directly associated with CAC member airports, generating a payroll of more
than $8 billion annually.




For further information:

For further information: Daniel-Robert Gooch, Director of
Communications, Canadian Airports Council, (613) 560-9302 ext 16,
daniel.gooch@cacairports.ca


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