Freedom to Move
Airports are part of an integrated national transportation system. Air travellers want a safe and smooth experience from their home, through airports, on to their destination.
In addition to strong connectivity between airports and their community, travellers want to breeze through the complex security and border processes associated with international travel – particularly important for Canada to grow global transiting passenger numbers.
Shippers also want goods to flow securely but freely.
International Transit Programs
International air service is the fastest growing segment of traffic at Canada’s airports and Canada is poised to exploit its geographic advantage as a hub linking North and South America with Asia and Europe. To extract this benefit requires improvements to visa policies for passengers transiting through Canada between international destinations must be made.
While airports, airlines and government are making progress improving international transit processes, funding is required for government to implement some projects, including expansion of visa-free transit through Canada. Canada competes with airports in Europe and Asia where this is common.
Most specifically, government needs to make investments in the backbone IT infrastructure to support programs like Transit Wiithout Visa (TWoV), which allows citizens of several visa required Asian countries to transit through Canadian airports if they are in possession of a valid visa for the United States.
National Transportation Infrastructure
The National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) was designed to increase the flow of Canadian trade through our transportation system and borders. This is the first national infrastructure fund open to all National Airport System (NAS) airports, and small NAS airports are receiving much needed relief.
Larger airports have proposed projects that support program objectives to reduce bottlenecks, and address capacity issues- on-airport but also in regional ground transportation. However, the NTCF is terribly oversubscribed. With a budget of $2 billion over 11 years, government received $27 billion in applications with the first call for submissions. The program should be expanded.
Meanwhile, airports are continuing to self-fund infrastructure projects out of user fees, a key feature of the Canadian airport model. This has allowed airports to invest in on-airport projects to benefit travellers, such as improved flow within the airport, but also on ground connectivity that gets travellers efficiently to/from the airport.