Air Transport Association Warns Irrational Airport Rents in Canada Threaten Cross-Border Trade and Travel

    WASHINGTON, March 19 /CNW/ - The Air Transport Association of America
(ATA), the trade association for the leading U.S. airlines, today warned that
the continued failure of the Canadian government to rationalize airport rents
threatens cross-border trade and travel, making Canadian destinations less
attractive to U.S. air carriers.
    "With Canada's largest airports ranking among the most expensive in the
world for airlines, it becomes extremely difficult from an economic standpoint
to justify routes north of the border," said ATA President and CEO James C.
May. "The rents that Canadian airports must pay to the Canadian government are
irrational and cannot be justified on an economic or policy basis. This
situation truly is unique," he added.
    Canada's four largest airports -- Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and
Calgary -- rank among the top 20 most expensive airports in the world. Of
these, Toronto Pearson International Airport is the most expensive. ATA hoped
the new Conservative government would act on its past commitments to reduce
airport rents, particularly at Toronto Pearson. The Canadian budget, released
today, included no such reductions.
    "A rent reduction at Toronto Pearson is desperately needed. Businesses in
Toronto should have easy air access to every major market in the United
States. That is threatened unless the government reduces airport rents,"
stated May.
    U.S. airlines carry approximately 58 percent of the daily passenger
traffic between Canada and the United States, much of that through Toronto
    "The economies of Canada and the United States are so intertwined that
ease of air travel between our two countries is critical. We should be doing
everything possible to encourage the economic relationship between our
countries. Rationalizing rent would help by making Canadian destinations more
attractive for cross-border air travel," concluded May.
    ATA airline members transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline
passenger and cargo traffic.

For further information:

For further information: Victoria Day, (202) 626-4141 or Elizabeth
Machalek, (202) 626-4205, both of Air Transport Association of America, Web

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