Canadian Airports Council - May 2015 Newsletter

Budget Day is always a major highlight of the federal political calendar, but even more so in an election year. On April 21, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled the 2015 Budget, which projected a surplus of $1.4 billion for 2015-16 with a focus on lower taxes, public safety and economic growth.  


Of interest to the Canadian air transportation sector, the budget provides $15.7 million over five years to ensure that low-risk travellers to Canada from Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria and Romania will be eligible to use an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) instead of a visa, making it faster and easier for these travellers to visit. In addition, the federal government's tourism promotion agency will be receiving support for a new initiative targeting travellers from the United States. Canada's airports support these developments as they have the potential to increase visitors, stimulate economic growth and develop new air services to, from, through and within Canada.


The same week as the budget, the government issued its full eTA regulations outlining entry requirements for all travellers from visa-exempt countries, with the exception of U.S. citizens who will require neither a visa nor an eTA to enter Canada. In particular, the Canadian Airports Council welcomes the fact the new program will not require Transit Without Visa (TWOV) passengers nor China Transit Program (CTP) travellers to obtain an eTA when transiting Canada en route to the U.S. Over the coming months, the CAC will be working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and other stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector to ensure visitors to Canada are aware of eTA before the program is rolled out in March 2016.


As for the last budget of the 41st Parliament, the budget implementation bill C-59 received first reading on May 7 and is expected to pass in the House of Commons and Senate before the current parliamentary session winds down in June.

Airports Canada 2015 Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver a Success
CAC Chair John Gibson delivers opening remarks at Airports Canada 2015 in Vancouver on March 26, 2015.

During the last week of March, representatives from across the Canadian aviation sector gathered for Airports Canada 2015 Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver. The CAC's biennial industry conference on March 26 and 27 was a success with more than 140 delegates in attendance and 20 highly-engaging speakers and panelists sharing their expertise across seven sessions on a diversity of topics.

This year's sessions focused on connectivity, air service development, promoting Canada abroad, security, the CTA Review, the need for national transportation strategy, and a federal politics panel. While there were many highlights, of particular interest were opening remarks by keynote speaker Dr. Walter M?rida of UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre, and a Friday-morning session led by the chair of the Canada Transportation Act Review, the Honourable David Emerson.    


A sincere thanks to all who attended, participated, sponsored and exhibited at Airports Canada 2015. The CAC looks forward to welcoming you at the next Airports Canada Conference and Exhibition in 2017.   

Canada's Airports Chart Course for the Future with Submission to CTA Review
The CAC has made available online its submission to the Canada Transportation Act Review, an expert panel chaired by the Honourable David Emerson. The panel is currently studying Canada's transportation policies and is expected to report back later this year with recommendations to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

Connecting Canada: An Aviation Policy Agenda for Global Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity contains 20 policy recommendations designed to support a strong Canadian aviation sector. The CAC's 68-page submission calls for globally competitive service standards for security screening, the reinvestment of fees and taxes back into Canada's aviation system, and infrastructure program improvements for small airports. It also offers recommendations on border policies, airport governance and lease issues, and air policy liberalization.

In addition, the submission contains a call to action for the aviation sector and government to work more closely together to ensure that Canada's airports remain engines for economic development linking communities from coast to coast with one other and with the world. 

Ken Waschuk and Scott Clements Join
CAC Policy Board 

On April 17, the CAC announced the board-level appointments of Ken Waschuk as the new chair of the Council of Chairs and Scott Clements, president and CEO of Fort McMurray International Airport, as regional director for Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Mr. Waschuck is a six-year member of the board of directors of the Regina Airport Authority, where he currently serves as board chair. He succeeds Mary Jordan of the Vancouver Airport Authority, who recently completed a two-year term chairing the Council of Chairs, an advisory body to the CAC board made up of airport board chairs, or their designated representatives, from among its 48 members.   

Fort McMurray International Airport President and CEO Scott Clements is the new regional director representing smaller airports in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In this role, he joins seven other regional directors promoting the interests of Canada's small airports on the CAC board. Mr. Clements succeeds past Regina Airport Authority President and CEO Jim Hunter, who sat on the CAC board for the past three years.

CAC Welcomes Three New Members
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is pleased to welcome three new members to the association: Windsor International Airport, Prince Rupert Airport and North Peace Regional Airport in Fort St. John, BC. These new members join the CAC and its Small Airports Caucus at a time when infrastructure funding for small airports has never been more critical, especially as passenger numbers continue to increase across the country.

To better serve the association's small and regional airport members, the CAC recently formed a coalition of small and regional airport associations that are calling on government to increase Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) funding, expand ACAP eligibility to small NAS airports, and modernize the applications process for infrastructure programs.   

The CAC is the united voice of Canada's airports. The association's 48 members operate more than 100 airports that handle virtually all of the nation's air cargo and international traffic, and 90% of domestic passenger traffic. If you are the CEO or manager of a small or regional Canadian airport and would like to learn more about the benefits of CAC membership, please visit our

website or contact us for more information.

Thunder Bay International Airport Announces
Ed Schmidtke as President & CEO
The Thunder Bay International Airport Authority has announced Ed Schmidtke as its new president and CEO effective May 14, 2015. Mr. Schmidtke had been serving in this position on an acting basis since fall 2014.  


In addition to his duties at the airport, Ed also sits as a member of the Board of Governors at Confederation College. He has also served the broader airports community as a former director with the International Association of Airport Executives-Canada and also as Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Economic Development Commission. Congratulations Ed!   

Fort McMurray International Airport Gets Boost on Expansion Project

On  March 27, the federal government identified the Fort McMurray International Airport expansion project for up to $25 million in funding as part of the $4 billion National Infrastructure Component of the New Building Canada Fund. The airport authority will be responsible for all remaining costs of the project, estimated at $75.5 million.


The project features an expansion of the main terminal building and north terminal apron, and an extension of the main runway. Two new general aviation taxiways will also be built as well as an emergency crosswind runway. These improvements will help Fort McMurray International Airport to increase capacity and efficiency by improving the flow of passengers and goods.

Fort McMurray International Airport Wins Award for Best Food and Beverage Program

On April 22, Fort McMurray International Airport earned first place honours for the best food and beverage program in a medium or small airport at ACI-NA's Excellence in Airport Concessions Awards. In particular, the airport was noted for the variety of its unique food options, including well known chains opening their first airport locations and new restaurants that have partnered with regional craft breweries.  


Fort McMurray International Airport is Canada's fifteenth busiest and fastest growing. It served more than 1.3 million passengers in 2014 with a passenger growth rate of 9.5%. 

Ottawa International Airport Authority
CFO Recognized

John Weerdenburg [centre],
with ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke [left] and
A?roports de Montr?al
President and CEO
James Cherry
At its inaugural Business of Airports Conference last month in Phoenix, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) recognized the Ottawa International Airport Authority's John Weerdenburg as its medium hub finance professional of the year.


ACI-NA cited Mr. Weerdenburg's strong commitment to the airport industry in Canada, where he has focused on risk management and reciprocal property insurance agreements as well as resolving such issues as Transport Canada rates and charges. 


Mr. Weerdenburg, who is also a member of ACI-NA's Finance Steering Committee and the ACI World Economics Committee, has served as the Ottawa International Airport Authority's Chief Financial Officer since 1996. Congratulations John!

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada's airports. Our 48 members represent more than 100 Canadian airports, including all of the National Airports System (NAS) airports and most passenger service airports in every province and territory.


For more information:
Gregory Kampf 
Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
613-560-9302 x15  
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