The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) has said it applauds its Government’s recent investments in infrastructure at several of the country’s small airports.
Sam Samaddar, CAC chair, and director of the Kelowna International Airport said: “Small airports across the country are integral to tourism and trade in the communities they serve. They connect Canada’s smaller communities to larger centres, as economic enablers contributing to job creation and regional development. But many have faced greater challenges in funding capital needs while keeping costs for travellers low.”
The CAC said when 21 of Canada’s airports were transferred from the federal government to privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports, it was on the basis that they be financially self-sufficient for all operating and capital costs. Since the early 1990s, these airports have collectively invested $25 billion on infrastructure but smaller airports with lower traffic volumes have sometimes found it a challenge to cover both operating and capital costs on an ongoing basis.
Funding criteria for the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) changed this dynamic, enabling small NAS airports to continue to invest in safety and comfort for travellers, while keeping costs to users low. For larger airports, the NTCF allows for federal participation in airport projects that support the flow of travellers and cargo by reducing bottlenecks, and addressing capacity issues, lessening the financial burden on air travellers.
So far, the federal government has announced funding for four NAS airports from the NTCF:
- $3.3 million to support important updates to the main taxiway at London International Airport
- $5 million for resurfacing of a runway and the adjoining taxiways and aprons at Gander International Airport
- $10 million to rehabilitate two runways, the public taxiway and aprons, and the addition of Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) to the Saint John Airport
- $8.1 million to rehabilitate the Charlottetown Airport’s main runway and connecting taxiways
The federal government is also providing the Fredericton International Airport with $9 million from the New Building Canada Fund to expand its terminal building by 50% to address a 33% jump in passenger traffic in the past five years.
Funding from the Airport Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) has also been announced for safety related projects at CAC member airports such as the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation, Red Deer Airport and the Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport.
Reg Wright, president of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association (ACAA) and also the president and CEO of Gander International Airport added: “Canada’s airports’ model has allowed airports to invest in their facilities, improve services for travellers and ensure capacity for the tremendous growth in air traffic we have seen over the past 25 years.
“Infrastructure funding reform has been an ACAA priority for several years. Allowing airports to participate in federal funding programs makes sense, we are integral to Canada’s transportation system and drive economic development in our communities.”