Centerlines - December 2010 - (Page 11)

CANADIAN AIRPORTS Reopen the Debate on Canada’s National Airports Policy BY THE EARLY 1990s, when the federal government decided to centerlines Airports Council International – North America 1775 K Street NW Suite 500 Washington, DC 20006 (202) 293-8500 ® proceed with plans to get out of the business of running airports, there were several models considered for airport devolution, most notably: • Transfer to an independent local operating authority. • Transfer to a provincial or territorial government. • Transfer to a municipal government. • Outright privatization. • Retain and operate the airport. • Close the airport. Several airports were transferred to municipalities. For example, Abbotsford International Airport in British Columbia was transferred to the city in 1997 for $10. The city operates the airport at arms length, but many smaller communities elected to operate their airports more directly. In other communities, such as Stephenville, Newfoundland, airports were devolved to separate airport authorities, commissions or societies, which operate their airport with varying degrees of independence from city government. The Province of Saskatchewan took on one former federal airport at Uranium City, while the federal government devolved all of its territorial airports to their respective territories. The federal government decided to designate National Airports System airports — 27 in total — and these airports were transferred to not-for-profit local airport authorities under the terms of a 60-year lease. No airports were fully privatized under devolution. While private corporations are involved in the operation of airports in many communities, such as Hamilton and Kamloops, these airports are operated on behalf of, and accountable to, local governments. All of the transfers came with a responsibility on the part of the new airport operator to assume operating and capital costs. But while under, most models airports were transferred for a nominal fee (such as $1), the 27 national airports actually were transferred with an obligation to pay millions in annual rent to the federal government — some $300 million a year. Eighteen years into airport devolution, we have a model that delivered well on its original objectives of renewing Canada’s airport infrastructure, making it financially self-sustaining, and ensuring that Canadian taxpayers were fairly compensated for the infrastructure that had already been built under years of government control. Today, airports have world-class airport infrastructure that was primarily selffunded at an investment cost totaling $10 billion. They operate in a commercially, self-sustaining manner and have more than paid back the initial taxpayer investment into the nation’s airport infrastructure. While the National Airports Policy was a model that worked for Canada, today’s aviation industry works in a different global environment. Airports compete for both passengers (who have the option of driving to the U.S. to catch fl ights) and air carriers (that can choose to offer fl ights elsewhere). It is time to reopen the debate on Canada’s National Airports Policy. Is there still a need for a National Airports System of airports? Do all current NAS airports need to be so designated? Are there other models that could work better for the future? As was the case 20 years ago, no single model is going to be an ideal one for every airport. While some airports are content with something close to the status quo, others may be interested in full privatization under not-for-profit or even private models. Let the discussions begin. WILLIAM RESTALL CHAIRMAN CANADIAN AIRPORTS COUNCIL ACI-NA Staff Greg Principato President Deborah McElroy Executive Vice President, Policy and External Affairs Thomas Smith Senior Director, Digital Communications Published by Naylor, LLC 5950 NW 1st Place Gainesville, FL 32607 (800) 369-6220 Publisher Jill Andreu Editor Christine Cusatis Project Manager Peri Brauth Marketing Holly Straut Bookleader Shane Holt Sales Representatives Lou Brandow, Jeff Bunkin, Rick Sauers, Chris Vermeulen, Marcus Weston, Matthew Yates Designer Robert Mensies Advertising Art Gregg Paris Cover photo courtesy of the Vancouver International Airport Authority, the 2010 Griesbach Winner. Centerlines is published quarterly by Naylor, LLC, on behalf of the Airports International Council-North America. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor of ACI-NA. © 2010 Airports Council International-North America, which is the exclusive owner of all rights and interest in the published work, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. ACI-NA and its members may reproduce the magazine, and the published work, in whole or in part in any media without prior authorization from Naylor. ®Centerlines is a registered trademark of ACI-NA. Published November 2010/ACI-Q0410/9835 E-mail address changes to: or mail to: 1775 K Street NW Suite 500 Washington, DC 20006 E-mail comments to | CENTERLINES 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Centerlines - December 2010

Centerlines - December 2010
President’s Message
Canadian Airports
Associates’ Corner
On the Hill and On the Stump
Cover Story: Evolving Airport Concessions
Passenger Focus: Measuring Customer Satisfaction
Fees vs. PFCs
Grand Openings
Now Underway
New Members
Index of Advertisers/
Box Scores

Centerlines - December 2010