The Future of Canadian Air Travel: Toll Booth or Spark Plug?

Ottawa, June 5, 2012 – Canada needs a single, cohesive national air travel strategy, including an updated National Airports System, to chart a new course toward increased air travel in Canada. This is one of the main recommendations made by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in its report tabled today on the future growth and global competitiveness of Canada’s airports, entitled The Future of Canadian Air Travel: Toll Booth or Spark Plug?

After hearing from dozens of witnesses over the past two years in connection with its study on emerging issues related to the Canadian airline industry, the committee has determined that “the Government of Canada should stop treating airports as a source of public revenue, such as toll booths, and start treating them as economic spark plugs,” said Senator Dennis Dawson, chair of the committee. “It should stop charging airports ground rent and plan to transfer Canada’s main airports to the authorities that already operate them.”

The committee concluded that the federal government should use its influence to bring partners to the table to establish new policies and systems that will address inefficiencies and continually improve the air travel experience for passengers in Canada.

Senator Stephen Greene, deputy chair of the committee, said that “the changes we are recommending would position the Canadian air travel industry for growth, put it on course to compete successfully in a future of increasing global air travel and enable the industry to deal with fierce competition from U.S. airports located near the Canadian border that are doing whatever they can to attract Canadian clients.”

The report offers six recommendations on how to improve air travel in Canada.

To learn more about the work of the committee and for a copy of the report, please visit

The Senate of Canada is on Twitter: @SenateCA. To follow the committee’s activities, use the #TRCM hashtag.

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