Airport Infrastructure Policy Paper
Canada's international airports play a pivotal role in supporting our economy by facilitating the movement of people, goods, services and ideas. We identified and advocate recommendations for Canada's airports policy.
AirPort Infrastructure Policy
The Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) is a conglomerate of nine urban Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across Canada. The goal of the CGCC is to build consensus on federal initiatives to foster a competitive and sustainable Canadian economy. Bolstering efficient trade and encouraging the fluid movement of goods, people, energy, and information across Canada accommodates economic growth and competitiveness. Urban economies can benefit from better interprovincial economic policy, including airport policies.
International aviation connectivity provides a competitive advantage to Canadian urban centres of trade. It can solidify a metro area’s position as a globally accessible business hub. Canada’s airports are more than staging points for human transport and goods. They are vital pieces of infrastructure that contribute to the growth potential of Canada’s economy.
Does Airport Infrastructure Policy Add More Regulations?
Policy does not always mean making more rules and regulations. Sometimes, good policy involves removing regulations that hinder economic development. For example, when navigating red tape becomes too costly it may deter business and stunt economic prosperity.
The Benefits of Airport Infrastructure Investment
International aviation connectivity provides a competitive advantage to Canadian urban centres of trade. It can solidify a metro area’s position as a globally accessible business hub. Airports contribute significantly to economic growth by supporting domestic trade and creating jobs in a variety of industries (from financial services to warehousing) while also attracting tourists and investors.
Canada’s airports are more than staging points for human transport and goods. They are vital pieces of infrastructure that contribute to the growth potential of Canada’s economy. The CGCC released a comprehensive report on the benefits of investment into airport infrastructure. This report provides data-driven information and recommendations to access the wide-ranging benefits that airports generate for trade growth.
“Multi-modal transit hubs are a common component of the world’s largest airports providing travel options for the millions of people who travel to, from, and through the airport and its adjacent employment zone.” Urban Strategies 2016
Below are some key findings from the CGCC’s 2015 report:
In the CGCC’s report there are more findings specific to provincial economies and industry breakdowns. It is without doubt that airport’s generate a considerable sum to Canada’s total GFP.
Recommendations for Stronger Airport Infrastructure
The CGCC is calling for airport policy reform to align Canada with global best practices, and for international airports to be factored into transit infrastructure planning by all levels of government.
The CGCC’s recommendations can be broken into three broad categories with 5 key actions required:
1. Adopt an internationally competitive service standard
2. Implement a targeted screening approach
Border Entry & Visa
3. Foster the development of global air transit hubs
4. Strategically align immigration and border facilitation for priority markets in tourism, investment and education
5. Develop airport transit and multi-modal hubs (where volumes warrant)
Canada has fallen behind global competitors and projected growth targets with its current one-size-fits all screening model. The CGCC proposes to establish and maintain an internationally competitive service level standard and provide enough funding to CATSA to ensure passengers are screened efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Furthermore, the CGCC advocates for enhanced technology to improve screening outcomes and adopt a dynamic technology roadmap (with clear areas of focus and accountability) to accommodate ever increasing volumes and realize a smart airport future state.
The recommendations above along with other submissions within the Airport Infrastructure report are vital for the competitiveness of our airports competitive alongside other growing economies across the world.
Airport Infrastructure Affected by COVID-19
In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, WestJet eliminated all routes east of Montreal except Halifax and St. John’s, and Air Canada suspended 30 regional routes. Air travel was severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis and is still falling behind in its ability to make up for losses and return to previous business continuity.
With the announcement of a loosening of quarantine rules and the opening up of world travel once again, the aviation sector is still in crisis and urgently needs help. International and some provincial borders remain closed and 14-day quarantine restrictions are still in place for most of the country. With no clear path forward, regardless of vaccination rates, COVID-19 continues to devastate an industry that until this year had been thriving and supporting growth in tourism, trade and immigration.
In a 2020 article written by Patrick Sullivan and Daniel-Robert Gooch, reported revenue losses were in the billions of dollars across airports, airlines, and NAV Canada. Tens of thousands of jobs were lost and have yet to be reinstated—almost half of the aviation workforce. Proposed capital projects above, and in this article, enhance connectivity and safety put on hold while the sector borrows billions just to maintain operations. This situation is not sustainable and can jeopardize future airport capacity, international competitiveness and economic growth.
To ensure the short and long-term viability of our aviation sector, Sullivan and Gooch ask the government to: