CAC, the Canadian Airports Council, has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for financial aid for the sector.
According to CAC, Canada’s airports expect to see losses of C$1.8bn to C$2.2bn (US$1.14bn – US$1.39bn) in 2020, a situation the council described as “unprecedented and catastrophic”. In its letter to the prime minister, the council also warned that many parts of the aviation sector could shut down without government action and relief.
Following discussions with airport leaders across Canada, CAC asked the government for the following relief measures, which fall into two broad categories: short‐term financial relief to get through the current period and immediate cashflow challenges; and longer-term recovery initiatives to stimulate travel once the crisis is past.
Proposed short-term relief includes: rent-relief of at least one year to enable airports to redeploy these funds to maintain operations and support their recovery strategies; financial relief for reduced cashflow; regulatory flexibility and funding, including flexibility to adjust tight implementation deadlines; and dedicated federal funding to help airports meet new regulatory requirements.
Longer-term relief proposed by CAC includes: boosted funding for infrastructure; modernization of Canada’s borders and international travel to stimulate international travel and airport revenue growth; and tourism promotion, including reforms to duty-free programs, such as the ability to purchase duty-free products upon arrival in Canada from an international flight.
The letter, signed by CAC chair Joyce Carter and vice chair RJ Steenstra, stressed that Canada’s airports not only play an important role in supporting commercial passenger traffic, but are national assets as well, “facilitating the delivery of cargo and medical care, providing access to remote communities and supporting military flights”.