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Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Victoria Airport Authority push for reduction of Federal Charges on Air Travel

Feb 11, 2004

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Airport Authority are joining the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade across Canada to call on the federal government to reduce the rent which Airport Authorities pay to the federal government and to eliminate the Air Traveller' Security Charge and the federal excise tax on aviation fuel.

"A viable airport facilitates trade and attracts investment, thus spurring economic growth." stated Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.  She said "the excessive range of taxes and fees that the federal government levies specifically on air travel is hurting the economy of our major urban centres."

Currently, the federal government collects $400 million annually through the Air Travellers' Security Charge, approximately $80 million in aviation fuel excise tax and $270 million in airport rent.  Since 1992, Canadian airports have paid over $1.5 billion in airport lease payments, a number that is expected to reach $4 billion in the next 10 years.

The Victoria Airport Authority is obliged to pay $1.1 million rent to the federal government in 2004.  Victoria is the only small airport in Canada currently paying rent.

At a time when the air travel industry is struggling, the federal government has refused to address the discriminatory and excessive charges which it has leveled against this important sector of our economy, said Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO, Doug Potentier.  He said "transportation is vital to Victoria because of our location.  The federal government has the responsibility to support the health of the air transportation industry."

An all party report entitled "An Industry in Crisis:  Safeguarding the Viability of the Canadian Airline Industry" issued in 2003 by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, recommended that the government provide immediate relief on rent and their taxes and fees.

"These issues have been under review by the federal government for over five years and we have not seen any tangible results," said Richard Paquette, President and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority.  He said, "it is important that Victorians understand the burden which federal aviation fees, taxes and rents place on air travelers, and the effect which those changes have on our community."

For more information contact:

Mr. Doug Potentier, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
(250) 383-7191 ext 201, or
Mr. Richard Paquette, CEO, Victoria Airport Authority
(250) 953-7500, or