"Unfair Double Standard," Canada's Airports Decry Continued Subsidization of Via Rail

    Via Rail receives millions in subsidies from the federal government while
    the civil aviation sector pays rent, fuel and other taxes

    OTTAWA, Oct. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) today
decried the continued subsidization of Via Rail to the tune of nearly
$692 million while Canada's aviation sector suffers from competitiveness
    "Canada's civil aviation sector already suffers a serious competitive
disadvantage to other modes of travel and airports across the border in the
U.S. due to airport rent and other forms of high taxation," said CAC President
and CEO Jim Facette. "Canada's airports generate some $30 billion in economic
output and employ more than 150,000 people while facilitating international
and domestic trade and tourism. To pump millions of dollars into a competitor
is inexplicable."
    The statement comes after it was announced today that the federal
government will provide $691.9 million in capital and operating funding to Via
Rail. While shouldering the financial responsibility of more than $9.5 billion
in capital improvements over the past decade, Canada's airports pay nearly
$300 million a year in the form of rent to the federal government.
    In addition to rent, which is passed on to airlines and their passengers,
the government burdens civil aviation with fuel excise taxes, the air
traveller's security charge and other tax and regulatory costs.
    "Canada's 100 million air travellers a year will pay nearly $300 million
in rent this year while the government pours nearly $700 million to benefit
Via Rail's 4.1 million passengers, said Mr. Facette. "This is a double
standard that clearly must end."

    About the Canadian Airports Council

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

For further information:

For further information: Daniel-Robert Gooch, Director of
Communications, Canadian Airports Council, (613) 560-9302 ext 16,

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