Sydney Airport Authority is receiving $2.7 million from the federal government to maintain regional connectivity and jobs 

News release

Targeted ACOA support for Cape Breton’s air ecosystem will help maintain jobs, re-establish regional connections

Sydney, Nova Scotia, July 16, 2021 Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Regional air transportation is crucial to local economic growth, movement of goods and connectivity of Canadians across the country. The pandemic has had major impacts on regional air transportation ecosystems, impacting communities and local businesses from coast to coast to coast.

The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, supports access to air transportation and regional ecosystems. In particular, it enables the continuation of existing air routes and ensures airports remain operational and able to contribute to regional economic growth, while adapting to new post-COVID-19 realities and requirements.

Federal government supports operating capital, establishing routes

With this in mind, Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, today announced $2.7 million in financial support for the Sydney Airport Authority (SAA). Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, also spoke at the event.

The SAA operates the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, providing safe and accessible aviation services and facilities to the travelling public and businesses of Cape Breton. This non-repayable contribution will enable the SAA to maintain operations and essential services and continue collaborating with various carriers to re-establish routes, flight frequencies and capacity to the region, while at the same time maintaining 11 full-time jobs.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses right across Canada. It is essential to connecting Canadians living in both rural and remote communities to urban centres, delivering Canadian goods to the global market and welcoming international visitors to all parts of the country, when it is safe to do so.


“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it. We know that air connectivity to all regions is essential to healthy, inclusive economic growth and supporting it is part of our plan to build back a stronger, more resilient economy.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport is a critical piece of infrastructure that supports business growth and economic development for our local communities. This funding will help the Sydney Airport Authority protect jobs that are vital to maintaining the skilled workforce needed to thrive and grow, as we move towards a post-pandemic recovery. I look forward to seeing the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport thriving once again bringing people from far and wide to enjoy all we have to offer here in Cape Breton.”
- Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso

“Resiliency has always defined Cape Bretoners, although the pandemic has presented more challenges than we could have imagined. But our strength and perseverance has paid off, and now we are ready to get back to the business of building back better and stronger than before.”
- Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

"This announcement is welcomed and appreciated. The funding will allow the airport to continue to operate as we wait for the airline industry to recover as people return to travel in the future. JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport is one of the most important assets the community possesses and is important for economic development. The growth of the community is dependent on air travel for our citizens, university and growing tourism industry. We would like to express our gratitude to the community for their continued support."
- Bob McNeil, Chairman, Board of Directors, Sydney Airport Authority

Quick facts

  • The Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), administered by the regional development agencies (RDAs), has a national budget of $206 million.

  • The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as SMEs and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.

  • The funding announced today is conditional on the signing of a contribution agreement between the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Sydney Airport Authority.

  • The RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

  • The Sydney Airport Authority has operated the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport since October 1, 1997. It is named after John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, a Canadian aviation pioneer who served as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1947-1952.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Communications Director, Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mike MacKinnon
Sydney Airport Authority

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