Search website by keyword
Victoria Airport Authority responds to the Canada Airports Act
Mar 20, 2003
Today, the Minister of Transport introduced the Canada Airports Act into Parliament and according to the Victoria Airport Authority it could not have come at a more inopportune time.
The Act seeks to re-regulate Canada's airports and fails to address the fundamental issues facing the air travel industry. Instead of reducing the cost structure and the amount of money being taken out of the system in rent paid the federal government, the Act imposes additional administrative costs which will be ultimately borne by the travelling public.
The Chair of Victoria Airport Authority Alan Peterson, said "I am very disappointed this Act does not do anything about the long standing rent issue. We have been working for five years on that matter, trying to get a more equitable rent formula for Victoria. Instead we are being saddled with more costs, most of which are unnecessary."
Responsibility for the Victoria International Airport was transferred to the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) under a long term lease from the federal government pursuant to the National Airports Policy of 1994 (NAP). The NAP has been an unqualified success at Victoria and other Canadian communities. The premise underling the National Airports Policy was that Canadian airports are best managed locally.
Mr. Peterson said "the VAA was founded as a result of a understanding between local governments, community groups and the Ministry of Transport. That understanding is found in our Ground Lease. This Act supercedes our ground lease in a heavy handed manner, imposing federal re-regulation on VAA. Re-regulation of this industry is a step backwards and is unjustified."
The process by which directors are appointed to the VAA Board is consistent with the government's accountability principles, and was specifically approved by the Minister of Transport. The new Canada Airports Act will oblige the VAA to change its well- functioning process to fit a more prescriptive national model. For example, there are presently eight VAA directors appointed by Municipalities and the CRD, that will change to a maximum of five under the new Act. Peterson said this "one size fits all approach is wrong and ignores local realities".
This Act does not address the industry's fundamental problems. In fact it misdirects attention away from the real issues such as airport rent, which urgently require Parliament's attention.
Mr. Peterson said the proposed Canada Airports Act goes beyond what is required to "fine tune" and improve a business model which is now working exceedingly well. We look forward to the opportunity to present our views to our local community and to the House of Commons Parliamentary Committee to address the Act's shortcomings and ensure the ongoing success of Victoria Airport.
For more information, contact Alan J. Peterson, Chair, Victoria Airport Authority at (250) 385-1383.