Canada's Airports Continue to Support CATSA's Role

Attention News Editors

OTTAWA, May 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) today urged the government to "stay the course" for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). As Canada's service provider for national air travel security, CATSA needs to continue its focus on aviation security for the security of all Canadians, the CAC says in a position paper filed with the panel reviewing CATSA's future. The paper also calls for a review of CATSA's accountability and funding.

"CATSA has a fundamental role in the air travel experience at Canadian airports, but much of the past five years has been spent doing the ground work required to get CATSA properly fulfilling its current role in air traveler and baggage screening," said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette. "When considering CATSA's future, it is essential to first improve the authority's performance within its current role as a service provider, and to create a mechanism to transparently measure this performance."

The CAC asserts that an expanded mandate for CATSA would divert the authority's attention away from its focus as a service provider in air travel security. The association also contends that the current crown corporation model for CATSA is the most adaptable and favours the authority's continued alignment with the Department of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

The CAC is calling for the establishment of national performance standards for CATSA, and site-specific metrics against which the authority's performance can be measured. While the service provider currently gets its funding from the federal government out of money collected by passengers from the Air Travellers' Security Charge, there is no mechanism to gauge the authority's effectiveness in how it spends this money on an airport-by-airport basis.

"Airports strongly believe that aviation security is a "national defence" issue that should be funded from general tax revenue, and not from airline passengers in the form of an ATSC," said Mr. Facette. "But failing this, the federal government needs to give CATSA enough money in a timely manner for it to properly fulfill its mandate, and CATSA then needs to answer for how it spends this money. This would ensure in a transparent way, that all ATSC funds collected from airline passengers are re-invested in aviation security."

The CAC's positions are echoed in the submissions from several CAC member airports, which have been making their own presentations to the panel on an ongoing basis.

About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the voice for Canada's airports. Its 45 members encompass more than 150 airports, including all of the National Airports System (NAS) airports and most significant municipal airports in every province and territory. Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation's air cargo and international passenger traffic and 95% of domestic passenger traffic. They create well in excess of $30 billion in economic activity in the communities they serve. And more than 150,000 jobs are directly associated with CAC member airports, generating a payroll of more than $8 billion annually.

Daniel-Robert Gooch, Director of Communications, Canadian Airports Council, (613) 560-9302 ext 16,