Budget 2018 Addresses Strong Air Traveller Growth Demand for Screening, Border Services
Canada's airports are pleased with the federal government's allocation of $236 million in additional funding to support airport security screening. The funds will help the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) manage increased passenger volumes over the coming year.
However, airports expect wait times to continue to be long at screening during peak travel periods until permanent reforms can be introduced to how the service is funded and delivered.
"CATSA plays an essential role in safeguarding the safety of passengers in Canada's skies. Traveller volumes were up 6.3 per cent last year and these funds will support CATSA operations over the busy months to come," said Daniel-Robert Gooch, the president of the Canadian Airports Council (CAC). "There is growing appreciation in Canada that we can do a better job in moving passengers more efficiently and with a more positive overall passenger experience. We look forward to engaging h government on meaningful permanent reforms to CATSA in the coming months."
While the Air Travellers Security Charge paid by every Canadian air traveller is designed to cover the costs associated with Canada's aviation security system, the federal budget each year determines how much of this money CATSA gets to perform its essential mandate. The federal crown corporation is responsible for screening at 89 airports, including Canada's biggest commercial airports.
A nimbler approach to funding the service is needed so that CATSA can deliver an improved service level standard amid continued strong traffic growth and an ever evolving security threat.
Canada's airports and major air carriers have submitted to Transport Minister Marc Garneau a service level recommendation that would see 95 per cent of originating passengers at the eight largest airports screened in under 10 minutes, even quicker standards for connecting passengers, and with no passenger waiting more than 20 minutes.
Funding for Border Services
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is another important partner of Canada's airports. Budget 2018 provides CBSA with $85 million in additional funding in 2018-19 to continue existing operations in support of the agency's mandate. This is in addition to $173.2 million over five years to help government manage irregular migration at the border.
"Canada's airports saw tremendous growth in international traffic in the past year - with double digit growth in some markets. CBSA has worked closely with airports to manage the increased volume in travellers through joint investments in kiosks and travel flow improvements that improve the travel experience," said Gooch. "These funds will help CBSA and airports continue this important work."
The budget also allocates $81.4 million over five years and $14 million per year ongoing for CBSA, Public Safety Canada and Transport Canada to enhance the Passenger Protect Program.