Monette Pasher appointed interim president of the CAC

January 19, 2022

OTTAWA (ON) – January 19, 2022 The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), is pleased to announce the appointment of Monette Pasher as its interim president, effective January 24th, 2022.

Monette Pasher – Canadian Airports Council Photo

Monette has 20 years of executive leadership and tourism marketing experience and possesses extensive knowledge of Canada’s airports and policy landscape. She brings a wealth of experience in government and media relations, strategic planning, aviation and tourism marketing to this interim position.

As executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association,  Monette successfully supported her members both prior to and throughout the pandemic, raising the profile of Atlantic Canada’s airport community, and building strong relationships with federal and provincial government officials and Canadian air carriers.

“We are delighted to welcome Monette,” said RJ Steenstra, chair of the CAC and president and CEO of Fort McMurray International Airport. “She is coming in at a critical time, as we deal with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.  Thanks to her knowledge of airport issues and proven track record as an industry advocate, she will be able to hit the ground running and maintain our high level of engagement with government.”

Kevin Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA welcomed Monette to the North American team, saying “With so many cross border and common issues, our offices in Ottawa and Washington are always in close communication.  I personally know Monette from our work in Canada, and know that she will make a great addition to our team in Ottawa as the search for a permanent president gets underway.”

Monette is looking forward to her new role “I am pleased to join CAC to help move the national airport agenda forward and ensure we have the tools to both survive the pandemic and build a stronger and more resilient sector for the future.”

CAC leadership has engaged an executive recruitment firm to help with the selection of a new president.  The search is expected to take between three to six months.

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice of Canada’s airports. Its 56 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Canadian airports are prepared to move forward

From International Airport Review – link to source story🔗

By Daniel-Robert Gooch | 17 January 2022

Daniel-Robert Gooch, President of the Canadian Airports Council, explains how post‑COVID-19, Canada is in a prime position to begin rebuilding a safer and optimal airport network and environment.

With 86 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated, and international travel restrictions easing, Canada is in a good position to begin to rebuild a competitive, sustainable, and safe airport network.
But first, we need to remove the last of the unnecessary travel restrictions that are stifling demand and ensure that government supports will continue until passenger numbers – and revenues – return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

The Canadian government has been hyper-cautious in reopening international borders, only lifting its global travel advisory for non-essential travel at the end of October.

Despite Canada’s high vaccination and compliance levels, dozens of airports-of-entry still do not have international flights, costing airports $1 million a month in lost revenue, restricting outbound travel, and reducing international tourism and trade. And even though all inbound travellers must be fully vaccinated, Canada still requires them to show a negative PCR test, which is expensive and time consuming.

COVID-19 can be both unpredictable and insidious, but our air system can be trusted. Airports and airlines have been relentless in applying safety and health protocols that have protected passengers and workers from the earliest days of the pandemic. As well, most Canadians – and travellers – support vaccine mandates and masking at airports and on airplanes.

It is essential that we get passenger numbers and revenue back up as quickly as possible, as up until the pandemic, Canada’s not-for-profit airports relied almost solely on passenger generated revenues for operations and capital projects. While government finally put aviation-specific funding programmes into place this summer, airports were already on their way to accumulating new debt of over $2 billion and revenue losses of $5.5 billion.

Daniel-Robert Gooch to Depart Canadian Airports Council

December 14, 2021

WASHINGTON and OTTAWA – December 14, 2021.  Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, today announced the departure of Daniel-Robert Gooch, the President of the organization’s Canadian division, commonly known as the Canadian Airports Council. Mr. Gooch will join another Ottawa-based non-aviation related trade association.

“For the last 16 years, Daniel has been a valued and respected member of the ACI-NA team,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “I have relied on his counsel during my time as President and CEO of ACI-NA as we have worked collaboratively to further enhance the value ACI-NA provides our Canadian members.  Daniel has played an essential role in strengthening the Canadian airport industry and amplifying the industry’s voice in Ottawa as a proven and effective advocate.”

“Daniel’s departure comes at a pivotal time for our industry as we continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Canadian Policy Council Chair Joyce Carter, President and CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority.  “Over the last 21 months, Daniel and his team have done exemplary work, working tirelessly on behalf of the Canadian airport industry.  Daniel’s leadership during these uncertain times is deeply appreciated by all of our airport members.  I am confident our brightest days are ahead of us because of Daniel’s guidance and leadership during his tenure at CAC these past 16 years.”

As CAC President, he oversaw operations of ACI-NA’s Canadian division, led Canadian government affairs and communications, and coordinated policy, legislative, and regulatory efforts to effectively advance the airport industry within Canada.  Before being named President of the CAC, Mr. Gooch previously served as the CAC’s director of communications and policy.

Mr. Gooch’s last day with the organization will be January 31, 2022.

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About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 56 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Canada’s Airports Welcome New Border Measures for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Additional communities await return of international air access

(OTTAWA ON, July 19, 2021) Canada’s airports welcomed today’s announcement of new border measures, most notably that  fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in U.S. will be permitted into Canada as of August 9th for non-essential travel.  Fully vaccinated travellers from other countries will be permitted to enter Canada for non-essential travel effective September 7th.

Airports are also encouraged to see the return of international access for five communities, an end to hotel quarantines, the elimination of temperature screening of travellers and airport workers, randomized arrival testing, and new rules for children under 12.

“The measures announced today will greatly facilitate recovery in air travel to Canada over the coming months, and improve the travel experience.  It is a testament to the hard work of Canadians to get vaccinated.” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch.  “While the return of direct international air services to the remaining Canadian airports remains to be confirmed, the steps announced today are important to help our battered visitor economy begin to recover.”

The CAC notes that more than 20 additional Canadian communities enjoyed international air service prior to the pandemic and continue to await its return.

“It is very encouraging to see Canada open up to international travellers and Canada’s airports look to engaging with the federal government on the measures announced today and those still required to fully open up Canada,” said Mr. Gooch. “Airports are pleased to see five additional communities gain access to international flights. However, prior to the pandemic, more than 20 more Canadian communities had regular flights to the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico, and are anxious to confirm when international air access will return. Timing is important, as seasonal service to sun destinations typically begins in the fall and Canadians are already planning their winter vacations.”

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 53 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Canadian Airport Council on June 21 government announcement

23 June 2021

While the June 21 federal announcement confirms that it will be easier for Canadians to travel internationally this summer, Canada’s airports are disappointed that the federal government is providing no information on the subsequent phases in its restart plan, leaving Canadians and the travel and tourism sector in the dark on what is planned for the coming weeks and months. Canada’s airports are calling on the federal government to release and quickly implement a multi-phased plan to reopen travel based on recommendations made by the federal government’s medical experts on its Expert Advisory Panel on Testing and Screening, including elimination of hotel quarantine for all travellers, elimination of quarantine for all fully vaccinated travellers, and new measures for partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. The restart plan should also include measures to eliminate funneling of international passengers to four airports, moving arrivals testing away from airport terminals, and reducing the two-metre physical distancing requirement.

Airports Council Urges President Biden, Prime Minister Trudeau, and G7 leaders to support the development of interoperable digital health passes at the G7 Summit

June 10, 2021 Ottawa, ON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke and Canadian Airports Council President Daniel-Robert Gooch recently joined ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira in writing U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge G7 leaders to support the continued development and proliferation of interoperable digital health passes at the G7 Summit, beginning Friday, June 11, which will promote the safe and swift reopening of international borders.
ACI-NA and ACI World are committed to ensuring that, as travel returns, airports are not choked off by long lines and crowds as incoming travelers go through necessary checks of their health status.

“We recognise that as the aviation industry recovers and as our citizens start to travel they will need to be assured of their health and safety throughout their journey. We therefore commit to support the development and introduction of digital health passes such as those being introduced by the European Union and the Blueprint developed by the Good Health Pass Collaborative and to take all possible steps to ensure their interoperability,” Burke, Gooch, and de Oliveira said.

Burke, Gooch, and de Oliveira also noted ACI’s commitment to ensuring “that all qualified travellers are able to satisfy the necessary border requirements with the minimum of restrictions or controls.”

As travel begins to recover and the number of individuals already vaccinated continues to climb across the U.S. and around the world, ACI-NA and ACI World have worked with aviation industry and private sector partners to develop principles and standards for digital health passes. The interoperability of these passes between various countries will allow people to travel more freely across borders, allowing the industry to act as a key driver of global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets. In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Canada’s Air Connectivity and Competitiveness at Risk: Report

Without more active engagement by the federal government, Canadian travellers at risk to shoulder pandemic-related costs.

Ottawa, ON, May 27, 2021 Without a strong federal commitment to a comprehensive aviation recovery plan, both the air sector and Canada’s overall competitiveness face considerable risk, according to aviation and business industry leaders who participated in a May 27 forum that examined post-COVID air connectivity and passenger costs.

Air transportation is an important industry in Canada, facilitating the movement of people and cargo,  and is a catalyst for other industries such as tourism. The sector currently accounts for 256,000 direct jobs and contributes $23.4 billion in direct Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The webinar brought together leaders from the aviation and business communities to focus public attention on the importance of an air sector recovery and why it matters to every Canadian traveller, business and community.

The starting point for the discussions was a newly released whitepaper, Holding Pattern: Canada Needs a Swift Recovery and Competitive Air Sector produced for the Canadian Airports Council, which examined the issues that will affect air recovery in Canada, including increased costs to travellers and reduced connectivity.  The paper noted that a 25 percent increase in the price of travel would lead to decline of 20 percent in passenger demand.  In turn this will impact connectivity, which has plummeted by as much as 90 percent in some regions, while leaving other regions isolated with effectively no service at all.

“Passenger throughput at Canada’s airports sits currently at roughly 10 percent of the levels seen in 2019,”  said Joyce Carter, CAC Chair and President and CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority. “Until the lost connectivity is restored, many regions will not see the economic benefits associated with air travel – including the spin-off benefits for other industries.”

The cost of maintaining community access with almost no revenue has forced Canada’s airports into a deep financial hole that the government has yet to fully address. COVID-19 travel restrictions have already led to airport losses of $5.5 billion in revenue to the end of this year.  On top of that, airports have accumulated an additional $2.8 billion in new debt directly related to operating during the pandemic.  This new debt, and its carrying costs, will have to be repaid, piling on additional costs on the price of air travel.

According to the whitepaper, the air sector’s current financial position and resulting cost-saving measures are likely to have an impact on the ability of Canadian airlines and airports to compete with their U.S. and foreign counterparts.  This situation poses a real threat, as other major aviation countries are already on their way to recovery, while Canada’s borders have remained closed to international travelers since March 2020.

Webinar participants identified several actions that would reduce the risk that accessing flights or destinations would be more difficult or more expensive for that critical connectivity which will be required for passengers and cargo alike.

Summing up the discussions, Bob Sartor, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority said “Aviation is the connective tissue that helps hold this huge country together and keeps our economy growing. Canadians need a dynamic and financially competitive aviation sector to reap the rewards which will come with a recovery.”

Link to the whitepaper

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not-for-profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Canada’s airports respond to the release of details on federal airport aid

While these measures, announced five months ago and detailed today are welcome, the government must be prepared to take further action to preserve the integrity of Canada’s airports.

OTTAWA, ON May 11, 2021,  The Canadian Airports Council, representing over 100 airports and 90 percent of aviation traffic in Canada, welcomed today’s details on federal government aid for airports announced in the November 2020 Fall Economic Statement, but warned that the government must be prepared to take further action, given the severity of the third wave and the continued impact of protracted air travel restrictions and increased health and safety measures on airports’ operations and revenues.

From the start of the pandemic, Canada’s airports have worked to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, repatriate Canadians, and deliver medical equipment, professionals and vaccines to fight this disease.

Today’s announcements included details on three previously announced measures: the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) which will provide $490 million over five years to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity;  the Airport Relief Fund (ARF) which provides $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations, as well as a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years for the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP).

“It is good to see federal government commitments made in the Fall Economic Statement being fulfilled, with funds flowing to airports soon. Unfortunately, the situation is worse than it was when these measures were announced five months ago, with our entire aviation network – from the largest to smallest commercial airports in Canada – compromised by the protracted suppression of passenger traffic to just about 10% of pre-pandemic levels,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch.

“As our airports await engagement with the federal government on a restart plan, the situation for Canada’s air transport sector will deteriorate even further, and more engagement by the federal government on the long term viability and competitiveness of our sector will be needed for Canada’s air sector to fully support recovery in our tourism sector and economy.”

To support airports of all sizes, the Canadian Airports Council has also asked government to waive – not defer – for the period of recovery, airport rent remitted to government by 22 of Canada’s airports and to provide financial support or interest free loans when necessary. In 2020 and 2021 alone, Canada’s airports anticipate a revenue loss of $5.5 billion which is required to be funded by additional debt of $2.8 billion.

The Canadian Airports Council has, and will continue, to engage government and industry partners to plan for a safe restart of air travel that ensures Canada emerges from the pandemic ready to support demand and economic recovery when the time is right.

Canada’s Airports Reinforce Call for Government Action as Expected Losses Grow with New Travel Restrictions

Airports expect an additional $1 billion in lost revenues as a result of new travel restrictions and extended traffic suppression  

(OTTAWA) March 4, 2021 –Canada’s airport are calling on federal and provincial governments to work with airports and other industry stakeholders as a matter of urgency if our country is to emerge from the pandemic with a functioning air sector that supports Canadian travel, tourism and trade.  The air sector needs a plan that will reverse domestic and international travel restrictions when the time is right, and ensure Canada has a strong, competitive air sector on the other side of this crisis.

With the increase in air travel restrictions, and new quarantine and testing requirements imposed during the last quarter of 2020 and early 2021, the Canadian Airport Council’s December outlook projects that revenue losses for Canada’s airports have deepened to $5.5 billion for 2020 and 2021 – a $1 billion deterioration since the last analysis was released in August. Given that no more than 20 percent of the measures outlined in the federal Fall Economic Statement will come in the form of direct grants to address operational losses, Canada’s airports expect to take on about $2.8 billion in additional debt in 2020 and 2021.

Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council is worried that the effects will be permanent. “While the federal government has been supportive, it is missing the sense of urgency to act quickly and decisively.  The reality is that these losses are unsustainable.  Without government action, air travel will not only become a lot more expensive, but Canadians everywhere will have fewer choices of routes and destinations, including at the four major hub airports.”

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the majority of Canada’s airports were almost entirely funded through passenger and aeronautical fees, which have dropped catastrophically with passenger traffic at zero to 15 per cent of pre-COVID levels at most airports. Unfortunately, the government’s mitigations such as ground lease rent relief and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provided only minimal aid.

“These measures provided some assistance, but not enough to help support airports dealing with higher costs and cratering revenues,” Mr. Gooch said. “In fact, our analysis shows that even their modest impact was far less than the government projected.”

When the 2020 rent waiver was announced in March the government asserted that it would provide the equivalent of $330 million in relief to the airport sector. The CAC’s data, aggregated directly from airports, show that the waiver saved only $137 million, 90 per cent of which benefited just four airports. Moreover, the majority of Canadian airports pay no rent, so most airports saw no benefit from the waiver at all.

Similarly, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provided $139 million in support to airports in 2020 – a fraction of the $1.7 billion that the federal government says has been provided to “air sector workers” – with 84 per cent going to the four busiest airports.  Moreover, about 200 municipal airports in Canada are not even eligible to participate in the program.

If the government does not increase its support, airports will have no choice but to make some stark choices that will have a direct impact on their passengers and communities. They can raise their fees significantly, continue to take on unprecedented amounts of new debt, or reduce operations even more dramatically.

To complicate matters further, air travel is very price-sensitive and airports must compete with each other for service.  If their rates increase too much, air carriers may elect not to return or may do so at fares that are no longer competitive, driving Canadians to fly on foreign air carriers and out of American airports as part of a vicious spiral that further degrades air connectivity for Canadian communities.

The CAC has identified a number of government-led actions to avoid the worst of these outcomes, including

  • Working inclusively with Canada’s airports and industry partners on a plan to safely restart air travel when it is safe to do.
  • Implementing a moratorium on ground lease rents and provide options for interest-free loans (or equivalent operational support) until the business recovers, which could take five years or longer.
  • Expanding national transportation infrastructure funding to meet safety and security requirements and adapt to COVID-19 and climate change.
  • Making permanent the elevated Airports Capital Assistance Program funding and expanded eligibility criteria to ensure sustainable recovery at Canada’s regional airports.

”Since the outset of the pandemic, airports have worked with transport, border and public health officials, among others, to ensure that air travel is as healthy and safe as possible and to continue to provide essential and emergency services for Canadians,” said Mr. Gooch. “We look forward to working with our government colleagues to rebuild confidence in air travel and save the industry from long term and irreparable damage.

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports.

Canada’s locally managed and not for profit airports are essential community assets.  In 2019, they supported 194,000 direct jobs, contributed $19 billion to GDP and $48 billion in direct economic outputs. They also remitted $6.9 billion in taxes to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Cooperation is essential if air industry is to survive latest travel restrictions

January 29, 2021 OTTAWA, ON

Federal and provincial governments must work with industry stakeholders, including airports, to successfully implement new measures

With the new travel restrictions announced today by the prime minister, the Canadian air sector has been plunged into its most severe crisis since March 2020.  Additional measures may be warranted, but Canada’s airports say the federal and provincial governments should be working more closely with industry on health measures.

Meanwhile, the federal government must become more actively engaged on the financial situation affecting the air sector, if Canada hopes to emerge from this prolonged crisis with a functioning national air transportation system.

“For the past 10 months, Canada’s airports have kept passengers and workers safe, maintained operational capabilities and served their communities.  With demand down by 85 to 90 per cent since the spring, they have done so by burning through any cash reserves, cancelling projects, laying off staff, and assuming $2.8 billion in additional debt by the end of 2021, just to keep their doors open. Today, there is nothing left to cut, yet the restrictions keep piling on,” said Canadian Airports Council president Daniel-Robert Gooch.

Since April, demand for international travel has been about five per cent of where it was in 2019.  In other words, for every hundred Canadians who travelled in 2019, only five have been travelling since the pandemic began.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the air sector sought to be an active partner in governments’ efforts to contain the virus. We are proud of what we accomplished to keep travellers safe from the earliest days, even before measures were mandated by governments.” said Mr. Gooch. “Airports are at the ready to support the government through a collaborative approach and share our decades of experience on how to manage risk at our airports and on aircraft, but we are learning of proposed measures through media leaks and press conferences, which is too late for us to make a positive contribution.”

The first priority of Canada’s airports is to ensure that our approach to quarantines and testing is risk-based, nationally consistent, and aligned with what the rest of the world is doing successfully.  Even before today’s measures, air travellers were subject to temperature checks, pre-departure PCR tests, a 14-day quarantine for most travellers, and airports and airlines were seeking to work with the federal government on a standard approach to arrivals testing.  Today’s news adds additional rules and processes that exceed measures in place for those already in the community who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The second and equally urgent priority is to move forward quickly with the financial relief measures announced in the federal Fall Economic Statement and for the federal government to be prepared to provide additional support as this rapidly evolving situation demands.  Canada’s airports welcome comments from Minister of Transport Omar Alghagra that financial support for our air carrier partners is coming, and look forward to engaging directly with the minister on what is needed to further support airports.  Canada’s air sector will have an important role to play in the recovery of Canada’s tourism sector and our trade based economy, but the industry has widespread concerns about its ability to participate in this recovery without more active and meaningful federal support.

“The industry’s outlook for 2021 is now dramatically worse than it was even a month ago,” Mr. Gooch concluded.  “There is an urgent need for the government to work with industry in the coming weeks on a plan to emerge from the pandemic and methodically and safely start to remove travel restrictions when the time is right.”

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), a division of Airports Council International-North America, is the voice for Canada’s airports community. Its 54 members represent more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada.

Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s airports supported nearly 200,000 jobs, generating $13 billion in wages and $7 billion in taxes to all levels of government.