Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) is urging the Canadian government to listen to the findings of a Parliamentary Committee report and stop treating the country’s gateways as a “cash cow”.
According to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications' Report on the Future Growth and Global Competitiveness of Canada’s Airports published yesterday, the government should instead cut industry costs to stop millions of people heading to the United States for cheaper air travel.
The report claims that high costs and inefficiencies throughout Canada's airline industry are deterring demand for air travel and discouraging competition among carriers.
And it suggests that one way to reduce costs is for the federal government to stop charging airports ground rent and to transfer Canada's main airports to the authorities that already operate them.
“This is not the first time that the Government of Canada has been urged to stop treating the air transport industry like a cash cow. This time, however, the conclusions of the Senate committee, which are based on testimony by a wide range of stakeholders, simply cannot be ignored,” said ADM's president and CEO, James Cherry.
“For several years now, the Canadian Airports Council has been calling for the elimination of the rents charged to Canada’s major airports and, more generally, reductions of the taxes and fees burdening the air transport industry and undermining its competitiveness internationally.
“It is now up to the Government of Canada to take immediate action in response to this appeal to good economic sense.”
Talking yesterday, Senator Dennis Dawson, chairman of the Senate committee, warned: "The government of Canada should stop treating airports as a source of public revenue, such as toll booths, and start treating them as economic spark plugs.”
The Canadian Airports Council estimates that in 2011, 4.8 million Canadians drove south into the United States to take advantage of lower American fares, an increase of 15% from 2010.