Funds for Border and Aviation Security Good Steps, Airports Say



    Important Competitive Reforms Still Needed

    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council today said
Budget 2008 allocations for border services and aviation security are positive
steps but important competitive reforms are still needed.
    "The secure and efficient facilitation of passengers and goods through
Canada's airports benefit all Canadians, and funds for aviation security and
border services are welcomed" said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette.
"Nevertheless, Canada's airports face significant competitive challenges from
foreign airports and reform to the current $300 million a year airport rent
regime and the introduction of arrivals duty free are two notable ways by
which the government could have addressed these challenges."
    In its Budget 2008, the federal government committed to providing the
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) with $147 million to address
operational pressures. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will receive
$75 million over two years to increase the number of border services officers.
Another $14 million will be invested over two years to expand Canada's
successful Canada-U.S. NEXUS program. The CAC recommends that the additional
funds be used to enhance border core services at airports, including small
airports, and provide the benefits of NEXUS to airports without the program.
    In its submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance,
the CAC reiterated its long-standing position that airport rent should be
eliminated. Failing this, the CAC put forward a compromise that would have
seen a change to the definition of revenue used to calculate rent that would
have greatly reduced the burden on airports and reduce costs for the
travelling public.
    The CAC also called on the government to allow arriving international
travellers to shop duty free at Canadian airports. Arrivals duty free will
have a tax net benefit of as much as $10 million a year for the federal
government and improve Canada's competitiveness relative to other markets. The
standing committee recommended that the government make an amendment to the
Excise Act that would allow arrivals duty free; this recommendation was not
adopted.
    "Canada's airports share the government's commitment to the growth and
prosperity of Canada. Airports work hard to promote their communities and
their nation as gateways for trade and tourism," said Mr. Facette. "To be
successful in our shared goals requires a more competitive playing field;
improved border and air security services will help."

    About the Canadian Airports Council

    The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports.
Its 49 members represent more than 180 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 in excess of $45 billion in economic activity
in the communities they serve. And more than 200,000 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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