Dollar Parity Highlights Competitive Challenges for Canada's Airports



    Canada's airports recommend federal government tackle policies sending
    passengers and cargo south of the border

    OTTAWA, Sept. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) today
said parity of the Canadian and U.S. dollars serves to highlight competitive
challenges hurting Canada's airports. It called on the government to tackle
several policies that are negatively impacting Canadian airports and causing
Canadian passengers and cargo to choose U.S. airports instead.
    "America's gain is Canada's loss," said CAC President and CEO Jim
Facette. "For quite some time we have been highlighting to the federal
government the competitive disadvantage faced by Canada's airports due to
federal policy on the aviation sector. Parity of the Canadian and U.S. dollars
is bringing this disadvantage out into the open."
    Canada's airports are losing millions of passengers a year to nearby
airports across the Canadian border, which do not pay rent like airports in
Canada do and often benefit from government subsidies for infrastructure
improvements and expansions. Similarly Canadian shippers are trucking hundreds
of thousands of tons of freight across the border to U.S. airports each year.
    "Competitive challenges are not new for Canada's airports, which have
invested billions in infrastructure investments in order to be well placed to
take advantage of international growth opportunities," said Mr. Facette. "It
is time for the federal government to take a hard look at its policies
impacting Canada's aviation sector or risk losing more business and jobs to
lucky U.S. border communities."
    The CAC noted a "wish list" of policy areas impacting airport
competitiveness:

    
    - A change to rent policy to end a penalization on airports that have
      prepared for growth through infrastructure expansion - or ideally the
      elimination of airport rent. Airports have committed to passing on the
      savings to air carriers and their passengers.
    - More liberalized air service agreements for increased competition on
      international air routes so that passengers and shippers will have more
      options to fly through Canadian hubs instead of U.S. hubs.
    - Elimination of the Air Travellers' Security Charge.  Aviation security
      is part of national security.
    - An end to the practice of charging some airports for customs services
      when demand for service warrants.  Border services are an important
      public service that facilitates increased international tourism and
      trade.
    - An examination of other tax policies negatively impacting Canadian air
      carriers, which must pass these costs on to passengers.

    "A more cost competitive environment for Canada's airports doesn't just
make sense as a matter of good governance, it is consistent with the federal
government's efforts to make Canada a leading international gateway," said Mr.
Facette. "We couldn't agree more with the government when it says that 'in an
increasingly connected world, the key will be an integrated approach to
physical and policy infrastructure'...an approach that encompasses 'other
interconnected issues of public policy, regulation, and operational practice
that directly impact how well the infrastructure works and how well Canada
takes advantage of it'."(*)

    About the Canadian Airports Council

    The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.
Its 47 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.


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    (*) From the Government of Canada's National Policy Framework for
        Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors published earlier this year
    




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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