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November 2013 Newsletter
"Continue Reforms to Canada's Visa Regime," Canada's Airports Urge the Federal Government
In an appearance on December 3rd before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the Canadian Airports Council urged the Federal Government to continue reforms to improve the policies and procedures around the provision of visitor visas, as well as expand low risk ways to get legitimate visitors out of the need for a visa altogether.

Airports note progress being made today, with 130 Visa Application Centers being opened, new ten-year multiple entry visas, and the lifting of visa requirements for the Czech Republic.  But airports contend that there are ample opportunities for improvement.  

"Canada's airports recognize the positive steps taken recently by the government to improve the visa application process. This is an indication that the government is hearing what we, and our partners in the air carrier and tourism sector, have been saying over the past few years about the importance of improving visa policies and procedures to grow Canada's broader economy," said Canadian Airports Council President Daniel-Robert Gooch. "Through greater use of technology and international best practices, we can be even more precise in facilitating trade and tourism without sacrificing security, and do so in a fiscally conservative manner."

Taken together, the association estimates that improvements to the current regime could support strong growth in international trade, generate thousands of jobs in aviation/tourism related industries and drive millions in economic activity.

Application process and eligibility

The current paper-based visa application process is cumbersome, requires applicants to submit detailed personal information, often involves the surrendering of an applicant's passport, and may involve long distance travel for in-person interviews. Business travel often needs to be arranged within days - not weeks or months.  Surrendering of passports can be a non-starter for many travellers and it is important that alternatives be both available and well communicated.

"Visas impact Canada's competitiveness as a tourism destination, the attractiveness of our international airport hubs for connecting traffic, the viability of potential new international routes, and the capacity to increase activity in global trade," said Mr. Gooch. "This is important not just for our international gateways, but also for many smaller centers, which receive international students, visiting family members and business travellers from around the world."

The CAC recommends that the Government of Canada move to a full electronic system for visas, as has been introduced in Australia and elsewhere. Improvements also should include procedures that allow applicants to keep their documents, regardless of application method, and improved foreign language services.  Taking a different approach to potential visitors who already been screened by other countries, such as the U.S., should be considered and visitors should be able to transfer Canadian visas.  

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada notes in a recent report that visa restrictions on travel are estimated to negatively impact inbound visits by up to 31%, which means about 250,000 fewer visitors each year from Brazil, China, India and Mexico alone. Considering the average long-haul visitor spends nearly $1,600, this would mean an additional $375 million in foreign spending in the Canadian economy from just these four countries, if Canada can significantly improve things on the visa front.

Expanding Transit Without Visa

The CAC also advanced a way to get travellers out of the visa and border queues altogether. Transit Without Visa is a program in place today that allows travellers from certain Asian cities visiting the United States to transit through Canada without a visa.  The successful program's expansion and improvement will provide additional opportunities for air traffic growth.

"While it may not be obvious how a traveler who spends just a few hours at a Canadian airport connecting to somewhere else is good for Canada, Canadian airports and air carriers are direct beneficiaries of these passengers," said Mr. Gooch. "Additional passengers make international routes more viable, help grow demand on existing routes, and increase competition to bring more travellers who are destined for Canada, which delivers benefits throughout the economy."

A recent Conference Board of Canada study estimated that expansion of the existing Transit Without Visa program could have a $270 million benefit in GDP and 3,200 jobs if Canada is able to attract just 5% of the connecting traffic between Asia and the United States.

Mr. Gooch's speaking notes are available on the CAC's website in English and French.
CAC Chair Tom Ruth Appointed New President and CEO at Edmonton Airports
Tom Ruth The Edmonton Airports board of directors announced on November 14th that Tom Ruth has been selected as the new president and CEO of Edmonton Airports. Mr. Ruth will begin in his new role on January 20th, 2014, replacing Reg Milley, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

"Tom joins Canada's fastest growing air service market at a key point in our growth and development," said Edmonton Airports board chair Tom Redl. "He stood out in a very strong candidate field for his extensive experience in both passenger and cargo markets across North America and for having worked in both airline and airport environments. He has a very strong understanding of the strength of the Edmonton region air service market and the potential that exists here to leverage our economic and passenger assets to develop more flights to more places."

Since 2008, Mr. Ruth served as the president and CEO Halifax International Airport Authority. He is also currently the chair of the Canadian Airports Council.

"I am very pleased to be joining Edmonton Airports during this exciting time in both airport and regional economic development," said Mr. Ruth. "Over the last number of years, investment has been rewarded with strong growth in passengers and flights. Now I know we are poised to move to the next level by working closely with stakeholders in this region, and across Canada's North, to offer a strong competitive case that will deliver even more success in passenger and cargo markets."

Prior to his appointment with HIAA, Mr. Ruth was president and CEO at Oceanex, a leading intermodal transportation specialist in Newfoundland.

From 2004-2007, Mr. Ruth was the president of Canadian North Airlines, a 100% aboriginal-owned airline connecting Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton to Canada's North.
CAC and NACC Host Second Annual
Holiday Reception
For the second consecutive year, the Canadian Airports Council and the National Airlines Council of Canada hosted a joint holiday reception in Ottawa on November 26th.

Building off of the success of the inaugural event in 2012, the CAC and NACC reception brought together over 70 aviation industry stakeholders and senior government officials to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

"We were happy to spend time with our partners and colleagues from across the aviation industry and show our appreciation for all of the work that takes place during the year," said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch. "We hope this event continues to be one that many people look forward to around this time of year."

"This event is a fantastic opportunity for people who work in different areas of the aviation industry to reconnect and share a conversation in a casual setting," said NACC Executive Director Marc-Andr´┐Ż O'Rourke. "We look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come."
Canada Eliminates Visa Requirements
for Czech Nationals
The Government of Canada announced on November 14th that it has lifted visa requirements for Czech nationals. The decision comes four years after the implementation of visa requirements at a time when Canada revamped its policy to prevent abuse of its social welfare system by central Europeans.

"Canada values strong ties with our European friends and after working with Czech officials for some time we are pleased to be able to extend visa-free travel for Czech citizens," said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander. "This move is a testament to the strong relationship between Canada and the Czech Republic and reinforces our government's commitment to facilitate legitimate trade and travel."

Otto Jelinek, Canadian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, said the two countries had been working to revolve the visa issue for several years.

"This is great news for both the Czech Republic and Canada," said Mr. Jelinek. "By making it easier for Czechs to visit Canada, we are strengthening the already close cultural and economic ties that exist between our two countries."

"Removing unsubstantiated visa checks will lead not only to increased mutual tourism but undoubtedly it will lead to development of economic relations between our two countries," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said.

Czech citizens can now travel to Canada for up to six months without a visa. The Czech Republic is now among 51 countries whose citizens do not require a visa to come to Canada.
Toronto City Council Remain Undecided About Toronto Island Airport Expansion
The decision to allow Porter Airlines to fly bigger jets out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport may be delayed until 2015, according to a report released by the City of Toronto on November 28th.

Earlier this year, Porter Airlines announced the purchase of 12 Bombardier CS100 aircraft with the goal of reaching new, long-haul destinations. However, questions about Porter's request remain, such as Transport Canada's approval to extend the main runway up to 200 metres at each end, whether the new airplanes will meet noise guidelines, emergency preparedness protocol, traffic and environmental implications in the surrounding areas, and the project's budget.

"This is a very complex and a very, very expensive proposition," said Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan in an interview with the Financial Post. "We're trying to build Ottawa international airport with 4 million passengers a year on a piece of land a third of that size of that airport with none of the other infrastructure and no way of paying for it."

Ever since Porter announced its plan in April 2013, Porter CEO Robert Deluce has maintained that the expansion would yield tremendous returns for the city on terms of job creation and added economic activity.

"We remain very optimistic that a majority of executive committee and council will see the proposal's benefits and the value it brings to the city," said Mr. Deluce in an interview with the Toronto Star.

Toronto Deputy City Manager John Livey will present the staff report on the expansion to the city's executive committee on December 5th. The report will then be presented at a city council meeting on December 16th, where all 44 councillors and the mayor will vote on whether to approve Porter's request.
City of Ottawa Prepared to Study Expanding Light Rail to Airport
During a meeting on November 26th, Ottawa city councillors unanimously approved five plans worth a combined $4 billion that will guide the city's future land development and the growth of Ottawa's transportation system.

Council approved an updated version of the city's Official Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Pedestrian Plan and Cycling Plan that were created in consultation with the public throughout 2013 during the Building a Liveable Ottawa initiative. These plans set the vision for Ottawa's future growth to 2031.

"The plans strongly supported by Council today are ambitious, practical and affordable. They will help us deliver greater certainty in planning matters and we will be taking a huge step forward by building Stage 2 of light rail," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. "Together these plans will help us build a city with vibrant communities that offer great cycling, transit, pedestrian and road connections throughout."

In its transportation plan, the City of Ottawa said it will work with the Ottawa International Airport Authority to study possible rail service to the airport.

This decision comes after the original transportation master plan tabled last month did not include a stop at the airport along the light rail line. Instead, bus service would continue to be the main transit option for getting to and from the airport, in addition to shuttle service connecting the terminal to the O-Train.

In a meeting with senior transportation staff at the time, Ottawa International Airport Authority President and CEO Mark Laroche expressed concerns over the plan and made suggestions about what a rail stop could offer for travellers and the greater community.

"The bottom line is that the City needs a comprehensive solution that brings the transit system right to the airport, sooner than what is being proposed, so that we can collectively serve the city and our visitors in a world class way," said Mr. Laroche during the meeting.

"This solution would not interfere with the airport's ability to grow and expand its runway infrastructure. Furthermore, the overall cost appears to be much more affordable than the other scenario," said Mr. Laroche.

Other parts of the city's plan surrounding the airport involve widening the Ottawa Airport Parkway, the main access road to the airport.
Canadian Council of Chief Executives Wants Canada and the U.S. to Accelerate Plans for Border Efficiency and Regulatory Cooperation
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced the Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation action plan in 2011, the overall goal was to promote economic growth, job creation and competitiveness by streamlining cross-border travel and trade.
 
And since then, several steps have been taken to achieve this goal, including the launch of a pre-clearance pilot project for rail cargo destined for the United States, enhancements to the NEXUS program for pre-approved travelers, and a Presidential order aimed at reducing unnecessary regulatory differences between the two countries.

However, the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation initiatives urgently need a strong push by the two governments, says the Hon. John Manley, the President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).

In advance of a meeting on November 15th with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and 100 Canadian and U.S. business leaders in Detroit, Mr. Manley voiced concern that an historic opportunity to make border clearance and regulatory processes more efficient and predictable is slipping away.

"In practical terms, Beyond the Border has yet to improve the experience at the border for shippers and business travelers to any significant degree," said Mr. Manley. "Pilot projects are important and necessary, but the real test is whether those pilots will be transformed into generalized border management practices."
 
"From reducing the burden of duplicative paperwork for large shippers to expanding our trusted traveler program to include Mexico, we have a long way to go to improve North American border efficiency," said Mr. Manley.

According to Mr. Manley, there is still no sign of a comprehensive pre-clearance and pre-inspection agreement for passengers and cargo and an expansion of benefits for trusted traders, items that are top priorities for exporters and other companies that do business across the border.
Charlottetown and Comox Airports Display Art by Local Talent
"Sky Calendar" by Brenda Whiteway and "Sailing Island Skies" by Tania Doucet are now installed in the air terminal building at the Charlottetown Airport.

The airports in Charlottetown and Comox Valley are featuring art on display created by local artists.

"We were overwhelmed by the response and quality of proposals for this project, which made it extremely difficult to select two artists out of such a talented list of individuals," said Charlottetown Airport Authority CEO Doug Newson.

Both pieces of artwork entitled "Sky Calendar" by Brenda Whiteway and "Sailing Island Skies" by Tania Doucet are now installed in the Charlottetown airport's air terminal building.

Across the country on the west coast, YQQ's Art and Culture Program opened its 2013/14 Coastal Explorations - Celebrating Island Living exhibition on November 21st.
Artists pose with their impressions at the Comox Valley Airport.

"This exhibition is an excellent way to connect our passengers with the northern Vancouver Island cultural community and provide a truly enhanced experience at our airport," said Comox Valley Airport CEO Fred Bigelow. "We are proud to work with the Comox Valley Community Arts Council on this highly successful public art program, which is now entering into its third year."

The exhibition will feature photography, sculpture, painting and textiles by 20 artists.

The Comox Valley Airport Art and Culture Program, a partnership between YQQ and the Comox Valley Community Arts Council, is intended to showcase the rich artistic tradition of northern Vancouver Island by presenting an annual public art exhibition for YQQ passengers and the community.
Statistics Canada Releases September 2013 Travel Data
Statistics Canada released data on November 19th that shows travel from Canada to the United States and overseas countries increased in September. At the same time, travel to Canada decreased as a result of fewer trips from overseas countries.

According to the travel data, Canadian residents took 4.7 million trips to the United States in September, up 0.5% from August.

This increase was a result of 1.2% more same-day car trips. Overnight travel, in turn, declined 0.5% to 1.9 million trips in September.

Travel to overseas countries continued to increase, as Canadian residents took 810,000 trips in September, up 0.7% from August.

While travel from overseas countries fell 2.9%, travel to Canada from the United States was unchanged at 1.7 million trips in September.

U.S. residents took 615,000 same-day car trips to Canada, up 1.6% from August. Overnight travel from the United States, however, was down 0.3% in September.

The decline in travel from overseas countries was widespread as 10 of the top 12 overseas markets recorded decreases.

The largest percentage decrease was in travel from China and Japan, with each recording a 5.0% decline. The largest percentage increase was in travel from South Korea (+6.4%).
Passenger Traffic Grew by 4.1%
in September
The world's airports reported an overall year-over-year gain of 4.1% in passenger traffic for the month of September. While overall growth has become relatively subdued when compared to 2012 and 2011 levels, air transport demand has remained resilient in the face of downside risks across the global economic landscape.

Growth in North America remains at relatively modest levels. September passenger traffic rose by 1.6%, which was in line with overall forecasts and expectations. As compared to other major airports in the region, Los Angeles (LAX) has achieved relatively high growth of 5%.

On an annual basis, air freight traffic is almost flat with respect to year-over-year increases. The sluggishness of air freight is reflective of the wide-ranging loss in steam in the volume of exports and imports across the globe.

ACI-World's monthly reports can be viewed here.
Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu Elected as President of the Council of ICAO
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced on November 18th that Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu has been elected as the new President of the ICAO Council.

Dr. Aliu's three-year term will take effect on January 1st, 2014 and end on December 31st, 2016. He becomes the ICAO Council's fifth president and its first from the Africa region.

"I am very grateful to my distinguished colleagues on the ICAO Council for their support and recognition," said Dr. Aliu. "Aviation today faces many challenges, but its role in expanding tourism and market access has never been more important to modern society and to the local, regional and global economic players who rely so significantly today on safe and dependable air transport connectivity. I will look forward to working with my Council colleagues over the next triennium, with the support of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission and Secretariat, as we seek to address aviation's key areas of priority."

Prior to his election, Dr. Aliu served for eight years as the ICAO Council's Nigerian Representative (2005-2013), Director of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority's Air Transport Regulation Directorate (2000-2004), and Chairman for the formulation of African Civil Aviation Policy under the African Union (2009-2011).
Industry News Quick Links
Canada's Airports: Poised for Liftoff - Globe and Mail Special Report (December 2, 2013)

Canada's oldest airfield officially closes - CTV News Edmonton (November 30, 2013)


Ultra-low cost Vancouver airline Jetlines will target routes in Northern B.C. - Vancouver Province (November 29, 2013)

Opinion: Kelowna's international airport keeps adding services - Kelowna Capital News (November 28, 2013)

Air Canada plans to beef up Pearson airport's role as international hub - Globe and Mail (November 19, 2013)

Boeing nabs huge orders in record day at Dubai Airshow - USA TODAY (November 18, 2013)

Editorial: Airport noise is the sound of jobs - Waterloo Record
(November 16, 2013)


WestJet Airlines begins first flights to Europe with Ireland service - Global News Toronto (November 15, 2013)

$28 project in Prince George is key for the economic activity in the region and the airport (video) - CKPG (November 15, 2013)

Airports to invest $6 billion on IT in 2013 - Airport World
(November 12, 2013)


A look at the Villeneuve Airport (video) - ShawTV Edmonton (November 7, 2013)

Abbotsford International Airport income steady - Abbotsford Times (November 5, 2013)

Opinion: Visa reform would help Canadian industry take flight - Vancouver Sun (November 3, 2013)
To submit a story, please e-mail:
 
Elias Rassi
Manager of Communications and Public Affairs
Canadian Airports Council
elias.rassi@cacairports.ca
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In This Issue
"Continue Reforms to Canada's Visa Regime," Canada's Airports Urge the Federal Government
CAC Chair Tom Ruth Appointed New President and CEO at Edmonton Airports
CAC and NACC Host Second Annual Holiday Reception
Canada Eliminates Visa Requirements for Czech Nationals
Toronto City Council Still Undecided About Toronto Island Airport Expansion
City of Ottawa Prepared to Study Expanding Light Rail to Airport
Canadian Council of Chief Executives Wants Canada and the U.S. to Accelerate Border Efficiency and Regulatory Cooperation
Charlottetown and Comox Airports Feature Local Artists
Statistics Canada Releases September 2013 Travel Data
Passenger Traffic Grew by 4.1% in September
Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu Elected as President of the Council of ICAO
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