Atlantic Canada’s airports pleased with federal support
Government of Canada announced $39 million in funding through Regional Air Transportation Initiative for Atlantic Canada’s Airports
For immediate release
(HALIFAX) August 12th, 2021 – With passenger traffic down 90 percent throughout the pandemic compared to 2019, Atlantic Canada’s airports were very pleased to receive operational funding support through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative by the Minister of Economic Development, Melanie Joly over the past few weeks. “Passengers are the major source of operating revenue for airports,” says Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association. “And with virtually no passenger traffic throughout the pandemic our airports have been either borrowing or using capital reserves to get through. It’s been a long 18 months, so this support is much appreciated and critical to operations.”
According to Pasher, Atlantic Canada’s airports faced a net loss of $80 million in 2020 and were projecting an additional net loss of $105 million in 2021.
“This operational support will go a long way in getting our regional airports through the period of rebuilding connectivity and recovering losses. This will put us back on the path to recovery,” noted Goronwy Price, president of Atlantic Canada Airports and General Manager of Goose Bay Airport Corporation.
Price said that the Government of Canada has recognized that the air sector has been among the most negatively impacted financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The uniqueness of the air sector, the economic damage done, and the importance of the air sector warranted specific supports. Through the RATI program, 12 Atlantic Canada’s Airports will receive approximately $39 million in liquidity support to recover financial losses and help them rebuild connectivity. This is in addition to support announced by Transport Canada for airports including an expanded Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), an Airport Relief Fund (ARF) and the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) for large airports.
“All of the programs announced will help our airports recover some of the losses endured throughout the pandemic, making it possible for these airports to endure until travel demand rebounds. We are very grateful, these are important community transportation assets and we need them to be on good financial footing to help aid in the recovery,” noted Price.
“We know that when we get back into an upswing our airlines and airports are going to be critical to rebuilding strong economies,” said Price.