The Government of Canada recognizes the unprecedented disruption to the air transportation sector resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, air passenger traffic has declined significantly as governments around the world impose border restrictions and advise their citizens to avoid unnecessary travel as a measure to slow the progression of the disease.
Support to Airports
Airports rely on fees paid by airlines and passengers to sustain their operations. As passenger traffic declines, airports are seeing their revenues fall, while at the same time they need to ensure safe operations.
To help airports reduce cost pressures and preserve cash flow as they deal with the effects of COVID-19 on their revenue, the government is waiving rents paid on ground leases for the 21 airport authorities that form part of the National Airport System and that pay rent to the government. The government will waive rent payments for March 2020 through December 2020. The government is also providing comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, by waiving payments made to the federal government on revenues generated by the airport. This will provide relief up to $331.4 million, reflecting payments in the same period of 2018.
By waiving ground lease payments, the government is helping these airport authorities to preserve cash flow during the disruption. This will allow them to redeploy cash to help maintain their operations and to support recovery strategies. This approach is consistent with actions taken to support the sector during previous major disruptions, such as the SARS outbreak in 2003.
The 21 National Airport System airport authorities covered by this measure are not-for-profit, non-share capital corporations that pay rents to operate airports in Canada under long-term leases with Transport Canada. Rents are based on revenues earned from operating the airports and related lands, which are owned by the government.
The 21 airport authorities that will receive relief are:
- St. John’s International Airport Authority
- Gander International Airport Authority Inc.
- Halifax International Airport Authority
- Charlottetown Airport Authority Inc.
- Saint John Airport Inc.
- Greater Moncton International Airport Authority Inc.
- Fredericton International Airport Authority
- Aéroport de Québec Inc.
- Aéroports de Montréal
- Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority
- Greater Toronto Airports Authority
- Greater London International Airports Authority
- Thunder Bay International Airports Inc.
- Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.
- Regina Airport Authority
- Saskatoon Airport Authority
- Edmonton Regional Airports Authority
- Calgary Airport Authority
- Prince George Airport Authority Inc.
- Vancouver International Airport Authority
- Victoria Airport Authority.
PortsToronto operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and pays an annual charge to Transport Canada based on the revenues it earns under the terms of its letters patent. PortsToronto revenues include those generated from operating Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.