A new study into the viability of Ontario’s airports and aerodromes indicates millions more in government funding is needed to annually keep pace with challenges facing those facilities.
In a news release, AMCO said challenges facing airports include the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory changes at the federal level, municipal financial pressures, decreasing public and political will, and the persistent need for provincial and federal funding support.
“This study is imperative to understanding the vital role of Ontario’s airports within our province,” Chris Wood, AMCO’s president, said in a June 21 news release.
“It captures the complexity of the issues confronting the airport operators and the critical need for provincial and federal funding support.”
AMCO noted airports are required to maintain infrastructure to meet industry regulations, in order to continue operations safely. That can include everything from medevac flights and disaster evacuation to supporting local business activities.
In seeking relief, AMCO said the provincial government can help by:
- revinesting aviation tax revenues into Ontario’s airports as part of an airports capital funding program; and
- restoring the joint industry and government Ontario Air Advisory Panel to address issues of concern and set priorities.
AMCO is also calling on the federal government to do its part by:
- permanently increasing the budget of the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) to $95 million per year to fund safety-related projects; and
- recapitalizing the Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) to support the community airports not eligible for ACAP funding.
AMCO said provincial and federal funding support is “imperative” to completing infrastructure renewal projects and keep the airports running.
The Airport Management Council of Ontario is a non-profit association that provides networking, programming, and events targeted at airport owners and operators, businesses, communities and all levels of government involved in the airport infrastructure and transportation network.