The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada.
May 11, 2021 Ottawa Transport Canada
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada. Airports have been significantly affected, experiencing major decreases in traffic over the past 15 months. Despite these consequences, airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air services, including traveling to medical appointments, air ambulance services, community resupply, getting goods to market, search and rescue operations, and forest fire response.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, launched two new contribution funding programs to help Canada’s airports recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a new program providing close to $490 million to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity;
The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations.
In addition to launching these two new funding programs, the Minister announced that Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years. The ACAP is an existing contribution funding program which provides financial assistance to Canada’s local and regional airports for safety-related infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.
“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our country’s economy, and play a key role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities, and our local airport workers. These programs will help ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, our airports remain viable and continue to provide Canadians with safe, reliable and efficient travel options, while creating and maintaining good paying jobs in the airport sector.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP), the Airport Relief Fund (ARF), and the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) funding top-up and program expansion were originally announced in the Fall Economic Statement in November 2020.
The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) will distribute $489.6 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible projects such as runway repairs/rehabilitation, airfield lighting enhancements, investments in terminal buildings, and transit stations to ensure connectivity to mass transit systems.
On April 15, 2021, the Government of Canada announced a contribution of up to $100 million towards the $600-million project to construct a new Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail underground station at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Federal funding for this project comes from the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP).
The Airport Relief Fund will provide $64.8 million in funding to airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million. The amount of funding to each targeted eligible recipient will be calculated using a tiered formula-based approach, based on 2019 revenues.
In addition to the one-time funding top-up of $186 million, eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) has been temporarily expanded to allow National Airport System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 (Gander, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Thunder Bay, London, and Prince George) to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
For 2021-2022, funding has been awarded to 63 airports for 86 ACAP projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.