ATAC seeks Olympic security compensation
April 1, 2010, Ottawa - The Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) held a meeting in Vancouver this week with its members and other companies serving the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the losses incurred by the B.C. air operators and flying schools as a result of the severe security restrictions imposed by the federal government during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
ATAC and over a dozen impacted stakeholders concluded that the security measures had a major negative financial impact upon air operators during the period of restrictions. In some instances operators saw a drop in revenue as much as 80% from the same period in previous years.
The group is now set on obtaining compensation by the federal government for these significant losses which threaten the very livelihood of some B.C. air operators and flying schools. Preliminary estimates indicate that collectively the losses amount to over $7 million.
ATAC has been lobbying the federal government for compensation ever since security measures were formally announced. ATAC wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper twice since November asking that the air operators be compensated, the latest letter dated January 19th, has yet to receive acknowledgement by the Office of the Prime Minister.
At the meeting held in Vancouver on Tuesday, ATAC and the air operators have concluded that they will continue to seek compensation from the federal government and that all means including litigation to recover these losses will be considered.
"These B.C. air operators are only asking that the government cover the operating losses resulting from the strict limitations imposed on their operations by Olympic security measures," declared John McKenna, President and CEO of the Air Transport Association ofCanada. "These were Transport Canada imposed restrictions. We are not questioning the need for Olympic security but why should these small business operators bear additional and unreasonable costs while seeing their commercial activities restricted by as much as 80% because of measures imposed by the government. We are only asking that the government accept its responsibilities", concluded by Mr. McKenna.