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"Canadian airport rent an issue"

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Airport rent an issue
Canada - CBC British Columbia

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Airport Authority says passengers flying out
of YVR have to deal with higher fares and fewer choices because of high
rents charged by Ottawa.

More than 25 per cent of the revenue generated at the airport goes to
the federal government for lease payments. 

That's $70 million a year - more than Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. 

"Instead of using YVR as an economic engine to grow the economy, it
seems that it is just a tax grab and the money goes back to Ottawa,"
says Richmond Centre MLA Greg Halsey-Brandt. 

He says that high rent is hurting business. Fifty per cent of
Vancouver's lease is charged to the airlines - making it more expensive
to fly here. 

It also means Vancouver has less money to spent on airport upgrades. So
passengers pick up the tab with airport improvement fees. 

Transport Canada says Ottawa is taking a second look at rent, but notes
the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a contract, agreeing to the lease
conditions it's now fighting. 

The airport also complains that it won't reach its full potential unless
the federal government addresses Canada's restrictive international air
policy that limits which airlines can fly into Vancouver.

Currently, Ottawa allows only 40 per cent of world airlines to fly into
YVR. And airport officials say that's driving business away, and
limiting consumer choice. 

On the web:

YVR report on economic impact of airport



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