Federal budget fails to address airport rent issue

    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA),
today expressed disappointment that the matter of airport rent relief was not
addressed in the federal budget.
    "It is unfortunate" said Lloyd McCoomb, President and CEO, "that the
government has not yet seen fit to reduce Toronto Pearson's rent to levels
that are fair compared with other regions. The Southern Ontario economy, in
fact all of Canada, will greatly benefit when the government addresses the
hindrance this unfair burden places on Toronto."
    Since 1996, the GTAA has invested more than $4.5 billion on redevelopment
without any federal contribution. During those same years, the GTAA has paid
$1 billion in airport rent. Rent is an artificial barrier to regional
competitiveness. Federal rent currently accounts for 34% of the landing fees
charged to airlines in Toronto, while airports with which Toronto competes in
the U.S. receive federal subsidies. The current rent formula will impose on
Toronto Pearson a 63% share of the national rent with only a 33% share of the
national air traffic. A direct measure of this negative impact is seen by the
1.5 million Canadians who drive to Buffalo to travel by air.
    The GTAA launched its "Let's Get a Fair Deal" rent campaign to
demonstrate that travellers through Toronto Pearson care about the issue and
want the government to act. In a short time, over 100,000 positive responses
were collected. This call for action is supported by a wide coalition of
airlines, freight forwarders and business groups. Several non partisan
economic think-tanks such as the C.D. Howe Institute and the Montreal Economic
Institute have called on the government to act.
    The public awareness campaign to encourage the government to reduce
airport costs by reducing airport rent will continue in Toronto Pearson's
terminals and at www.gtaa.com.

For further information:

For further information: Scott Armstrong, Manager, Media Relations,
(416) 776-3709

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