Deer Lake, NL, August 4, 2021 – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
Regional air transportation is crucial to local economic growth, the movement of goods and the connectivity of Canadians across the country. The pandemic has had major impacts on regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting communities and local businesses from coast to coast to coast.
The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, supports access to air transportation and regional ecosystems. In particular, it enables the continuation of existing air routes and ensures airports remain operational and able to contribute to regional economic growth, while adapting to new post-COVID-19 realities and requirements.
Federal government supports operating capital, establishing routes
With this in mind, Gudie Hutchings, MP for Long Range Mountains and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, today announced $3.1 million in financial support for the Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority (DLRAA). The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade also spoke at the event.
The DLRAA operates the Deer Lake Regional Airport, providing safe and accessible aviation services and facilities to the travelling public and businesses of Western Newfoundland. This non-repayable contribution will enable the DLRAA to maintain operations and essential services, mitigate its financial hardships due to the pandemic and continue to work with various carriers to re-establish routes to the region, while at the same time maintaining 16 full-time jobs.
Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses right across Canada. It is essential to connecting Canadians living in rural and remote communities to urban centres, delivering Canadian goods to the global market and welcoming international visitors to all parts of the country, when it is safe to do so.
To help finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a resilient economic recovery, the Government of Canada also recently launched two other initiatives being delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies.
The $700 million Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF), which includes $70 million for Atlantic Canada, aims to support businesses to future proof, build resiliency, catalyze growth and enhance competiveness. Additional support for tourism businesses and organizations is also being provided through a new $500 million Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), which includes $48.5 million for Atlantic Canada. It will help create or enhance tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors and be ready to safely welcome international visitors.
“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it. We know that air connectivity to all regions is essential to healthy, inclusive economic growth, and supporting it is part of our plan to build back a stronger, more resilient economy.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA
“The Deer Lake Regional Airport is a critical piece of infrastructure that supports business growth and economic development in Western Newfoundland. It also plays an important role supporting rotational workers who travel to work sites throughout Canada, and for the many tourism businesses, which are vital in this area. This funding will help the airport remain viable, while protecting jobs and maintaining the skilled workforce needed for a strong post-pandemic recovery. I look forward to seeing the airport thriving once again, bringing people from near and far to enjoy all that we have to offer in this beautiful part of our province.”
– Gudie Hutchings, MP for Long Range Mountains and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“Vibrant and financially strong airports are critical to Atlantic Canada’s economic recovery. That is why our government is focused on strengthening our many key sectors, such as air transportation. Investing in airports like the Deer Lake Regional Airport support the surrounding communities and will help us ensure a strong, inclusive economic recovery. “
– Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
“Today’s news is tremendous, not only for our airport, but for all of Western Newfoundland. Regional air service is critical for our economic recovery. This incredible level of support will help us recover financially so we can build back connectivity.”
– Dean Porter, Chair, Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority
“I am so pleased with this announcement. This significant degree of support will ensure Deer Lake Regional Airport can continue safe operations, recover from the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on our bottom line and grow connectivity for our community.”
– Tammy Priddle, CEO, Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority
The Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), administered by the regional development agencies (RDAs), has a national budget of $206 million.
The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems-which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as SMEs and non-profit organizations-in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
The RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.
The Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority was established in 1996. It is lead by a 10-member volunteer board of directors with representation from throughout the region.