Targeted federal support for regional air transportation ecosystem in London area
August 3, 2021 – London, ON – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
Regional air transportation is crucial to local economic growth, the movement of people and goods across the country and maintaining operations with our trading partners. The pandemic has had major impacts on regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting communities and local businesses from coast to coast to coast.
The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) supports access to air transportation and regional ecosystems. In particular, it enables the continuation of existing air routes and ensures airports remain operational and able to contribute to regional economic growth, while adapting to new post-COVID-19 realities and requirements.
Targeted support for London air transportation ecosystem
With this in mind, today, Kate Young, Member of Parliament for London West and Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario contribution of $4.5 million for the London International Airport.
London International Airport is a key transportation asset that, in 2019, served nearly 700,000 passengers, with 40 commercial airline departures daily to over 14 destinations. During the pandemic, the airport experienced declines of over 90 percent in passenger volumes. This non-repayable investment will provide liquidity support to enable continued critical regional air operations and services by helping the airport to cover fixed operating expenses. This project will also support critical operational services, reinstate regional air routes and maintain jobs in the London region.
Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses right across Canada. It is essential to connecting Canadians living in rural and remote communities to urban centres, delivering Canadian goods to the global market and welcoming international visitors to all parts of the country, when it is safe to do so.
“London is a city that has a proven track record of attracting global companies, investments and talent. Critical to the region’s economic success is London’s air transportation infrastructure, that fosters economic growth and regional connectivity. Through this non-repayable investment in London International Airport, the Government of Canada is helping to support the region’s air transportation ecosystem and strengthen connectivity, supporting a strong and prosperous future for the region beyond the pandemic.”
- Kate Young, Member of Parliament for London West
“The support for London International Airport will provide an immense benefit to the residents and businesses of London and the surrounding region by allowing them to safely access a growing regional air network. These investments will help continue to provide communities with high quality air services that not only bring people and businesses together, but also supports the future success of our economy and our rising regional sectors.”
- Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre
“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it. We know that air connectivity to all regions is essential to healthy, inclusive economic growth, and supporting it is part of our plan to build back a stronger, more resilient economy.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario
“The role played by London International Airport in our city’s transportation strategy is absolutely vital, and the sky is truly the limit when forecasting its potential. Prior to the pandemic, the London International Airport had seen record growth across all meaningful metrics. As restrictions continue to ease, and traveller confidence increases, this investment will help ensure the airport is exceptionally well-positioned to once again establish itself as southwestern Ontario’s premier hub for air travel.”
- His Worship Ed Holder, Mayor, City of London
“We are grateful to receive the non-repayable FedDev Ontario support that will aid our recovery and help us get back on our feet, as London International Airport faces a profound impact from the pandemic. This support will help us keep jobs and cover operating expenses as passengers make their return to travel through southwestern Ontario’s ‘easy and comfortable’ airport.”
- Mike Seabrook, President and CEO, London International Airport
- In 2019, London International Airport contributed to the creation of 2,900 jobs and more than $400 million for the local economy.
- Prior to the pandemic, London International Airport supported the movement of nearly 700,000 passengers per year.
- With 50 businesses located at the airport and employing more than 1,200 employees, the London International Airport is a significant contributor to local jobs and economic growth.
- Recognizing the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the air transportation sector, the Government of Canada introduced the Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) to help businesses and organizations in regional air transportation ecosystems to remain operational through these difficult times and continue to support the economic growth of our regions.
- With a national budget of $206 million over two years, Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) are delivering this support, with FedDev Ontario delivering $24.2 million in southern Ontario. The RATI complements the measures in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
- The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as SMEs and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
- The RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.
- Since November 1, 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $143 million in 83 projects in the Middlesex census division.