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Canadian Airports Council unveils economic impact study

April 11, 2013, Montreal - At its Airports Canada 2013 Conference & Exhibition, the Canadian Airports Council today unveiled its first economic impact study in more than a decade. Canada's air transportation industry had a $34.9 billion economic footprint in 2012, supported 405,000 jobs and personal income of more than $17 billion and federal taxation of more than $7 billion.


April 11, 2013
By Carey Fredericks

As discussed in the study, this is in addition to broader economic benefits, such as supporting the livelihoods of Canadians in remote regions, economic development in the north and in the natural resources sector, and enhancing business operations and efficiency.

"A growing, vibrant air transportation industry is vital to boost Canadian prosperity, providing essential trade and travel links and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada. This economic impact study of the air transport industry reinforces the importance of our industry to Canada's economy" said CAC Chairman Tom Ruth. "While Canada's share of worldwide passenger traffic is fairly small, with such a geographically large country Canadians must rely on air transport more than residents of most other countries."

Canada's air transportation system was used by more than 120 million passengers in 2012, an increase of 3.6 per cent over 2011. This aviation activity benefited the federal and provincial treasuries with more than $7 billion collected in taxes in 2012.

The United States continues to be Canada's biggest single travel partner as 24 million passengers – 20 per cent of all passengers – flew between our two countries.  Twenty-one per cent of the 1.5 million tonnes of Canadian air cargo was between Canada and the U.S., representing almost $28 billionin trade across the Canada-U.S. border (in 2011).

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However, air transportation also is becoming increasingly important in trade and tourism with non-U.S. markets. Growth in "overseas" (non-U.S. international) traffic has been particularly strong in the last decade, averaging 4.9 per cent growth per year. While the U.S. passenger volumes traditionally were greater, today U.S. and overseas passenger numbers are about the same; trends favour overseas growth and Canada's air transportation industry is responding to this new reality.

"The number of overseas cities served by Canadian airports has increased by more than 30% in the last eight years, while service to the U.S. also has continued to improve," said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch.  "All this means that Canadian communities of all sizes and regions are better connected through Canada's aviation network to opportunities for trade and tourism around the world."

The economic impact study, which was compiled by the Conference Board of Canada and the Airports and Aviation Group of SNC Lavalin, is the first of a two-part air transportation policy exercise. The second part, which will examine Canada's air transport sector growth potential and policy approach alternatives, will be released in mid-September.


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