In a press conference Tuesday, Ottawa’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, launched two new contribution funding programs to help Canada’s airports recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a new program providing close to $490 million to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity; and
- The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to smaller Canadian airports to help maintain operations.
ACIP will distribute $489.6 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible projects such as runway repairs/rehabilitation, airfield lighting enhancements, investments in terminal buildings, and transit stations to ensure connectivity to mass transit systems.
ARF will provide $64.8 million in funding to airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million. The amount of funding to each targeted eligible recipient will be calculated based on 2019 revenues.
The alphabet-soup of programs ACIP, ARF, as well as ACAP- the Airports Capital Assistance Program – funding top-up and program expansion were originally announced in the Fall Economic Statement in NOV 2020.
For 2021-2022, funding has been awarded to 63 airports for 86 ACAP projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.
In addition to a one-time funding top-up of $186 million, eligibility for ACAP has now been temporarily expanded to allow National Airport System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 (Gander, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Thunder Bay, London, and Prince George) to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our country’s economy, and play a key role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities, and our local airport workers,” said Alghabra in a statement. “These programs will help ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, our airports remain viable and continue to provide Canadians with safe, reliable and efficient travel options, while creating and maintaining good paying jobs in the airport sector.”