AMCO Study reveals: Ontario airports are in critical need for Government funding

Posted On Tuesday June 21, 2022

North Bay, Ontario, Canada – The Study of Ontario’s Airports and Aerodromes prepared for the Airport Management Council of Ontario (AMCO) by HM Aero Aviation Consulting has revealed the major challenges that have and continue to affect Ontario’s airports such as the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory changes at the federal level, municipal financial pressures, and decreasing public and political will, as well as the persistent need for provincial and federal funding support.

AMCO President and Director of Region of Waterloo International Airport Chris Wood, AAE says "This study is imperative to understanding the vital role of Ontario's airports within our province. It captures the complexity of the issues confronting the airport operators and the critical need for provincial and federal funding support."

Ontario’s airports have directly contributed to our economy for decades and play a pivotal role in the communities they serve. These airports facilitate medevac flights, disaster evacuation, wildfire suppression, law enforcement activities and support local businesses.

Airports are required to maintain a wide-ranging series of infrastructure assets to meet the requirements of a highly regulated air transportation industry and to support safe aircraft operations. The degradation of infrastructure threatens the future of Ontario’s airports.

Looking ahead, the Study recommends that the Government of Ontario take on an increased leadership role in championing the provincial airport network and:

  • Implement a new Ontario airport capital funding program similar to models utilized by other provincial governments by putting in place a mechanism for the reinvestment of the aviation fuel tax revenues into Ontario’s airports;
  • Restore the joint industry and government Ontario Air Advisory Panel to address issues of concern and set priorities.

In addition to the recommended call to action at the provincial level, the Study recognizes the important role that federal support has served in ensuring the continued availability of Ontario’s airports in the past decades. At the federal level, the following recommendations are made to the Government of Canada for targeted supports to ensure the continued availability and safety of the country’s airports:

  • Permanently increase the budget of the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) to $95M per year in order to appropriately address the needs and costs associated with implementing safety-related projects at the airports;
  • Recapitalize the Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI) to support the community airports not eligible for ACAP funding.

This study highlights the importance of Ontario’s airports as economic drivers and critical social assets, as well as longstanding gaps in capital funding support. To ensure that Ontario’s airports can continue to serve the province’s residents, businesses, and communities, provincial and federal funding is imperative to complete critical infrastructure renewal projects.

In the coming years, it is expected that success will, more than ever, be contingent on effective partnerships between airport operators and the provincial and federal levels of government. Through effective and targeted support, the preservation of the airport network of transportation assets can occur, ensuring that their critical social and economic benefits can be realized within their surrounding communities and across Ontario.

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For all additional information please contact CEO, Laura McNeice, by telephone at 705-474-1080 ext. 200 or by email at