"Airport Competitiveness a Key Link in the Tourism Value Chain"

    Cost competitiveness, air access and border facilitation are three  key
    areas, CAC tells House of Commons Committee

    OTTAWA, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - "Canada's airports are a key part of
Canada's tourism value chain - a part that must be competitive in order for
Canada to be competitive in the tourism business," Canadian Airports Council
President and CEO Jim Facette today told members of the House of Commons
Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
    "As gateways to the communities they serve, Canada's airports have an
integral role in the promoting and furthering of tourism in this country. We
are a key part of Canada's tourism value chain," said Mr. Facette. "In order
for Canada to be competitive in the tourism business, each link in the value
chain must be competitive, efficiently operated and customer focused."
    The comments came in a presentation to the House committee as it studies
Canada's competitiveness as a world tourism destination. According to a recent
report from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Canada's travel
deficit has ballooned to $10.3 billion in 2007 and the latest quarterly
numbers for 2008 show a continued deterioration.

    The CAC outlined three key areas impacting airport competitiveness today:

    - Cost Competitiveness - Canada's airports pay nearly $300 million a year
      to the federal government in airport rent.  While investing more than
      $9.5 billion in self-funded infrastructure improvements over the past
      15 years, they have spent $2.5 billion in rent.

      Airports generate income in to the federal treasury through job
      creation, both direct and indirect, and attracting tourists and
      investment.  Airports in Canada are committed to passing along any
      savings from rent relief to their users, be it the airlines or

    - Air Access - Canada needs better air services in order to allow more
      carriers to respond to market demand for competitive international air
      service to Canada.  While the U.S. has 92 Open Skies Agreements, Canada
      has just five.  Airports contend that success in the ongoing talks
      between Canada and the European Union - Canada's second biggest source
      of tourists - is vital to growing Canada's tourism base.

    - Border Facilitation - Long line-ups to border services in airport
      arrivals halls leave a terribly poor impression with tourists to
      Canada.  It is essential that Canada Border Services Agency have the
      resources it needs to adequately staff the needs of Canada's airports -
      large and small.  Airports are actively marketing their communities to
      airlines of the world but need to be able to provide border services to
      serve new flights.

    "Working with their local and provincial tourism sectors, Canada's
airports today are actively promoting their communities in the U.S. and
overseas," said Mr. Facette. "They attend air service trade shows, they're
meeting with air carriers from around the world, and they are making a case
for Canada. We need federal policies that encourage more tourists not ones
that will result in a less competitive business."

    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,

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