The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada. Airports have been significantly affected, experiencing major decreases in traffic over the past 15 months. Despite these consequences, airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air services, including traveling to medical appointments, air ambulance services, community resupply, getting goods to market, search and rescue operations, and forest fire response.
The Minister of Transport in Canada, 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;
- The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations.
In addition to launching these two new funding programs, the Minister announced that Transport Canada's Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years. The ACAP is an existing contribution funding program which provides financial assistance to Canada's local and regional airports for safety-related infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.