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Canada’s Airports: Doing our Part for Canadian Competitiveness

Jim Facette said Canada's airports are doing their part in positioning Canada to compete globally.


September 20, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

BOSTON, MA, July 24, 2007 – In a speech today addressing the National Business Travel Association, Canadian Airports Council President and CEO Jim Facette said Canada's airports are doing their part in positioning Canada to compete globally.

Mr. Facette said in his speech that Canada's airports agree with a recent report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade in its spring recommendations to the government to improve Canada's international business competitiveness. Among the recommendations was a call to accelerate international air service liberalization and modernize domestic policies.

"In the spring of this year, a committee of our elected federal government officials said that Canada needed to develop an international business strategy. In particular, it recommended an increase in liberalized
air service agreements as a key enabler to growing Canada's international competitiveness. We agree," said Mr. Facette.

While encouraged by news that Canada will engage in air service talks with the European Union in the fall, Canada's airports remain frustrated by slow progress on air service talks.

Mr. Facette said that for airports, a competitive business strategy also means good domestic policy. In its report, the standing committee contends that in order for Canada to be given a chance to compete on a level playing field, it must "modernize and strengthen its infrastructure, tax, regulatory, human resources, innovation, and other domestic policies to ensure that Canadian companies are as well positioned as they possibly can be to compete in the global economy."

"For airports, sensible domestic policy means a change to how Ottawa collects rent from Canada's airports," said Mr. Facette. "Rent is a cost of doing business that has driven up costs and one that our allies, the air carriers, are aligned with us on."

In fiscal year 2007-08, Canada's airports will pay nearly $290 million in rent. Rent places Canadian airports at a competitive disadvantage to U. S. airports and other modes of transportation. The CAC has been seeking a change to the formula for collecting rent that would eliminate the current penalty on airports that have risen financing to expand their facilities through capital investment projects.

"As we do our part on the global stage, we need a playing field that provides airports and the communities they serve the opportunity to grow. With each additional passenger or cargo airplane serving a community in Canada, it provides both direct and indirect jobs," said Mr. Facette. "Canada's airports will continue to do their part in the development of a Canadian international business strategy."