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March 2014 Newsletter
Canada's Airports: Investing for Passengers and Communities
The following article written by CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch was originally published in the Globe and Mail online on March 7th.

Canada's airports appreciate the attention being paid recently to the important economic and social role they play in the communities they serve. As critical components of Canada's national transportation infrastructure, airports have made many improvements to support this role and the demands of growing traffic volumes. Perhaps a better job can be done explaining how airports in Canada are operated and funded.

Twenty years after the operation of airports was transferred from the federal government to independent local airport authorities, many Canadians still do not realize that the federal government no longer runs our airports. In fact, most are not operated by any level of government. While the federal government retains legal title to the land, most major airports in Canada are operated by non-share capital corporations that are fully responsible for self-funding all operating and infrastructure costs and must invest any profits back into the airport.

It wasn't always this way. Until the early 1990s airports were managed by the federal government with civil servants running the business and taxpayers bearing the burden for all capital investments and operational costs not covered by airport charges. With taxpayers directly subsidizing the Canadian transportation system in these times, by the early 1990s the annual cost to taxpayers for operations alone was $135-million a year (with minimal investment in facilities).

To get government out of the business of running airports, operating and funding responsibilities were transferred to local airport authorities under detailed long-term leases that set out the governance and consultation mechanisms under which the airports are run. This model was intended to make airports more like private enterprise, while ensuring they became more responsive and accountable to a broader range of stakeholders through local management.

Under this system airports have invested more than $19-billion in airport improvements since 1992 with virtually no funding from taxpayers. This is not generally understood: With few exceptions, Canada's major airports are not subsidized by government. Rather, they pay $280-million a year in rent to the federal government - more than $4.8-billion since 1992 - and hundreds of millions in "payments in lieu of tax" to municipal governments across Canada.

Canada essentially has a "user pay PLUS" system for aviation in which users pay for airport infrastructure, security screening and air traffic control, plus a little extra to the federal government.

In addition to making Canadian airports more pleasant for travellers (with facilities ranked first in the world by the World Economic Forum and regularly winning international awards), these investments mean that our airports are able to handle the doubling of traffic we have seen since 1993.

These investments also have allowed airports to diversify and expand profitable revenue streams through food/beverage, retail, hotels and commercial real estate that have kept in check charges that airports would otherwise pass on to airlines (and their passengers). While government-related costs contribute significantly to the relatively high cost of air travel in Canada, the revenue generated from these non-aviation airport ventures ensures Canada's cost competitive disadvantage is not worse.

With continued concerns about the impact that Canada's user pay plus approach to aviation has on cost competitiveness, there could certainly be improvements in the system and airports actively contribute to these discussions. However among those who know and understand the airport model in Canada, the broad consensus is that the model works.

In Canada we have airports that have invested billions of dollars to ensure they are able to exceed safety and security requirements and meet the demands of ever growing traffic. We have an air transportation sector with a $35-billion economic footprint and 140,000 directly employed Canadians (according to the Conference Board of Canada).

Our system works because it balances the needs of all stakeholders. This is good for Canada, air travellers and the communities our airports serve.
Halifax, Toronto-Pearson and Vancouver Recognized by Skytrax Among World's Best
On March 26th, the 2014 Skytrax World Airport Awards ceremony was held as part of the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Barcelona, Spain.

Three Canadian airports - the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Toronto-Pearson International Airport, and the Vancouver International Airport - received awards in
various categories.

Vancouver International Airport
  • Best Airport in North America (1st place)
  • Best Airport Hotels in North America -
    the Fairmont Vancouver Airport (1st place)
  • World's Best Airport Serving
    10-20 Million Passengers (1st place)
  • Best Airport Staff in North America (2nd place)
  • World's Best Airports (9th place)
Toronto-Pearson International Airport
  • Best Airport Staff in North America (4th place)
  • World's Best Airports Serving
    30-40 Million Passengers (9th place)
  • Best Airport in North America (5th place)
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
  • World's Best Airport Serving Under
    5 Million Passengers (3rd place)
  • Best Regional Airport in North America (3rd place)
  • Best Airport in North America (7th place)
Skytrax's World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The World Airport Awards are based on 12.85 million customer nominations across 110 nationalities of air travellers, and included 410 airports worldwide.
HIAA Names New President and CEO
On March 11th, the Halifax International Airport Authority announced the appointment of Joyce Carter as its new president and CEO. Ms. Carter now joins the CAC board of directors as one of three representatives from Atlantic Canada.

Ms. Carter joined HIAA in 1999, and since then has been integral in HIAA's growth and development, becoming Chief Financial Officer in 2006 and Chief Strategy Officer in 2008. She is also chair of the Halifax Gateway Council, and serves on the boards of Dalhousie University and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

"Halifax Stanfield International Airport is a major economic engine for our municipality and province, and it is vital that HIAA's senior leadership team brings the skills and experience that will see that critical role maintained and enhanced. We are confident that Joyce will continue to provide effective leadership both at the airport and in our community," said HIAA chair Peter McDonough.

Ms. Carter holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary's University and is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia. In 2012, Ms. Carter attained the Institute of Chartered Accountants' highest honour, the Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) designation.
Submit Your Nomination for ACI-NA's William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award Today!
ACI-NA is seeking nominations for the 2014 William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award, ACI-NA's most prestigious award recognizing outstanding leadership in promoting the cause of airports and aviation as a vital part of the local, national or worldwide aviation community.

The submission deadline is April 7th, 2014. 

Visit ACI-NA's website for more information or click here to download the nomination form!
Vancouver Airport Authority Chief Executive Eyes Major Opportunity in Asia
Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Craig Richmond sees Asia as a great opportunity for increasing air passenger traffic.
Photo credit: Vancouver Airport Authority
During a presentation to Richmond city council on March 3rd, Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Craig Richmond said the airport handled nearly 18 million passengers in 2013, up 2.1% from 2012, crediting the rise in passenger traffic at the airport and B.C. region with increased air service to China.

"Expanding service to Asia, particularly China, and capturing more of the Chinese tourism market, is a tremendous opportunity," said Mr. Richmond in an interview with the Richmond Review. "I think this is the greatest commercial aviation opportunity in history. It's on our doorstep. The Chinese carriers are tripling the size of their fleets in the next 15 years, and so we can take advantage of that."

The Vancouver International Airport offers 75 flights to China each week, more than any other North American airport. China Eastern now offers twice daily flights to Shanghai, China Southern recently began offering daily service to Guangzhou and Air China increased air service to Beijing to 12 times per week. And, the airport welcomed new daily non-stop service on March 30th to Tokyo Haneda Airport on board Nippon Airways, marking it the airline's first flight to Canada.

"In the next six years in China and other Asian nations there will be 750 million more middle class," said Mr. Richmond. "The Chinese airlines are buying (airplanes) and they want someplace to go. It would be a shame for us to miss out on that opportunity."

Mr. Richmond is urging the federal government to help facilitate new business by liberalizing air treaties, simplifying Canada's visa process and ensuring government agencies are equipped to quickly screen growing volumes of passengers.

The Richmond Review reported airport officials are also increasing the appeal of the Vancouver airport with a series of projects, including the expansion of the terminal and building a luxury outlet mall on airport land. Construction on the Sea Island Luxury Designer Outlet began in January 2014 and is set to be complete by spring 2015.
Fort McMurray Announces Details for New International Air Terminal Building
The Fort McMurray Airport Authority released more details on March 25th about its new international terminal expansion project. Amenities travellers can look forward to enjoying include:

-15 brand name retail and food/beverage outlets including two full-service restaurants, Famoso Pizzeria and a first-of-its-kind Earl's restaurant in an airport;
-Over 2,200 parking stalls with power and valet parking;
-Four aircraft bridges and eight aircraft parking stands;
-Public art featuring original works;
-1,267 acres of airport land available for new commercial and light industrial development; and
-A 4-star hotel opening in 2016 with restaurant/bar, meeting rooms, gym/pool, business centre and heated underground parking, connected to the ATB via a climate-controlled pedway.

A grand opening gala event featuring Colonel Chris Hadfield as Master of Ceremonies and the Canadian rock band Bachman + Turner will be held in the new air terminal building on May 31st, 2014.

The new $258-million, 15,000-square-metre air terminal building will handle up to 1.5 million passengers and is set to open on June 9th.  

Icelandair's Inaugural Flight Touches Down at Edmonton International Airport
Icelandair's inaugural flight from Reykjavik touched down at the Edmonton International Airport on March 5th. The approximately six-and-a-half hour flight between Edmonton and Reykjavik will regularly operate four days a week. During the busy summer months, the flight will run five days per week. The flight will provides travellers with easy access to over 20 European cities.

"We'd like to strengthen our ties with Canada - our economic, social, cultural ties. So this is part of that focus," said Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson, who was among the group of passengers on board the inaugural flight to Edmonton, in an interview with Global News.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the new connection will help strengthen ties between the regions on a number of fronts.

"I think this is really going to enhance travel opportunities and business opportunities for Edmonton," said Mayor Iveson. "This is critical for Edmonton's success, for our business community, for our multi-cultural community to be able to connect with home all around the world. And for our researchers and students who also need connections to the world."

"The more we can do to be adding more flights, trans-border flights, domestic flights and flights internationally, the better it helps our overall economy," said Edmonton Airports President and CEO Tom Ruth.
Air Canada Adding Flights to Charlottetown
This summer, P.E.I residents will enjoy more flights in and out of the Charlottetown airport.

During a Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on March 12th, Air Canada's senior vice president of regional markets Kevin Howlett announced there will be three flights to Montreal for July and August, and four to Toronto.

It's not the only airline planning for increased traffic this summer as WestJet looks to use bigger aircraft to fly more passengers.

"To see [our airline partners] add extra capacity and an improved flight schedule is obviously good news for Prince Edward Island and the airport," said Charlottetown Airport Authority CEO Doug Newson in an interview with The Guardian.

"In total our capacity during the summer peak will increase by more than five per cent, which means, for example, more than 1,000 seats in the month of July offering better opportunities for tourists with a schedule that allows greater connectivity and greater access," said Mr. Newson.
Ottawa Airport Introduces New Options for Parking and Passenger Pick-Up
The Ottawa International Airport Authority launched a new online parking reservation and management system at the end of February which allows people to reserve and pay for parking through the airport's website before arriving to the airport.

The new online parking reservation and management system entitled Parkspace is fully integrated with the airport's existing access control system.

"Customer service has always been one of the Airport Authority's key priorities, and we consistently strive for continuous improvement," said Ottawa International Airport Authority President and CEO Mark Laroche. "Making
parking and passenger pick-up easier and more convenient helps us achieve our goals in this area, and once again
raises the bar where providing excellent service is concerned."

In addition to the new online service, the Airport Authority also announced the opening of a new free Cell Phone Parking lot. This lot provides a convenient location where drivers can wait until they receive a message on their mobile device before proceeding to the arrivals curb to pick up an arriving passenger. Users can wait in this lot for up to 30 minutes at no charge. The lot is conveniently located close to the main terminal.
R. Gil Kerlikowske Named Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
The U.S. Senate confirmed the Honorable R. Gil Kerlikowske as the next Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on March 6th.

U.S. President Barrack Obama nominated Mr. Kerlikowske to this position on August 1st, 2013.  Mr. Kerlikowske replaces Thomas Winkowski, who has served as Acting Commissioner since Alan Bersin's recess appointment expired on December 31, 2009.

Mr. Kerlikowske has 37 years of law enforcement experience.  He currently serves as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  He previously served as police chief in Seattle and Buffalo and as a leader of the Justice Department's community policing initiative during the Clinton administration.  

Mr. Kerlikowske holds a B.A. and M.A. in criminal justice from the University of South Florida.  He also is a graduate of the National Executive Institute at the FBI's Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Industry News Quick Links
Calgary Airport's new runway has opening date - Calgary Sun
(March 31, 2014)

WestJet Airlines signs $167-million deal to buy 5 Bombardier Q400 planes - The Province (March 31, 2014)

Toronto executive committee opens door to negotiations over jets at island airport - National Post (March 25, 2014)

Air Canada moves to lower costs by expanding Rouge service to Vancouver, Calgary - Montreal Gazette (March 25, 2014)

Deer Lake airport already taking off in 2014 - The Western Star
(March 20, 2014)

Why it costs so much more to fly in Canada - CTV News Vancouver (March 18, 2014)

Hamilton airport lands new tenant - Hamilton Spectator (March 13, 2014)

Tourism Industry Association of Canada Op-Ed: Now boarding - Canada's gateway to driving export success - National Post
(March 13, 2014)

Nanaimo-to-Seattle flights launched - Nanaimo Daily News
(March 4, 2014)

Charlottetown Airport flying on momentum - The Guardian
(March 1, 2014)

Airport Symposium Held in Prince George (Video) - CKPG TV
(February 27, 2014)

To submit a story, please e-mail:
Elias Rassi
Manager of Communications and Public Affairs
Canadian Airports Council
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In This Issue
Canada's Airports: Investing for Passengers and Communities
Halifax, Toronto-Pearson and Vancouver Recognized by Skytrax Among World's Best
HIAA Names New President and CEO
Submit Your Nomination for ACI-NA's William E. Downes Jr. Memorial Award Today!
Vancouver Airport Authority Chief Executive Eyes Major Opportunity in Asia
Fort McMurray Announces Details for New International Air Terminal Building
Icelandair's Inaugural Flight Touches Down at Edmonton International Airport
Air Canada Adding Flights to Charlottetown
Ottawa Airport Introduces New Options for Parking and Passenger Pick-Up
R. Gil Kerlikowske Named Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
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