Government announces support for air transportation sector during COVID-19 pandemic

News release

March 30, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The air transportation sector has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments around the world impose border restrictions and advise their citizens against non-essential travel to protect people’s health, the sector has faced significant declines in air passenger traffic, staff layoffs, and grounding of planes.

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the government is waiving ground lease rents from March 2020 through to December 2020 for the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government. The government will also provide comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and pays a charge to the federal government. This support will help airports reduce cost pressures and preserve their cash flow as they deal with the effects of COVID-19 on their revenue streams. This will provide relief up to $331.4 million, reflecting payments in the same period of 2018.

These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan - a comprehensive plan to help ensure that Canadians can pay for essentials like mortgages, rent and groceries, and to help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impact of COVID-19, and stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.


“We recognize the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on people and the economy, and that certain sectors, such as the air transportation industry, have suffered tremendously. As we have said since this crisis began, we have Canadians’ backs and stand ready to do anything and everything in our power to support those who are suffering. The support provided today is the next step in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to help workers and businesses get through this unprecedented time of turmoil.”

Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

“From March to December 2020, the Government of Canada intends to waive rent for the  21 National Airport System airport authorities, and will provide comparable support to Billy Bishop airport.  We want to provide relief for these important entities who are still open under difficult circumstances, and are helping to help bring Canadians home.  We are appreciative that they continue to support the flow of people and goods during this challenging time.”

Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • The 21 airport authorities that will receive relief are:

    • St. John’s International Airport Authority
    • Gander International Airport Authority Inc.
    • Halifax International Airport Authority
    • Charlottetown Airport Authority Inc.
    • Saint John Airport Inc.
    • Greater Moncton International Airport Authority Inc.
    • Fredericton International Airport Authority
    • Aéroport de Québec Inc.
    • Aéroports de Montréal
    • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority
    • Greater Toronto Airports Authority
    • Greater London International Airports Authority
    • Thunder Bay International Airports Inc.
    • Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.
    • Regina Airport Authority
    • Saskatoon Airport Authority
    • Edmonton Regional Airports Authority
    • Calgary Airport Authority
    • Prince George Airport Authority Inc.
    • Vancouver International Airport Authority
    • Victoria Airport Authority
  • Relief will also be provided to PortsToronto, which operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and pays an annual charge to Transport Canada based on the revenues it earns under the terms of its letters patent.

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Media may contact:

Maéva Proteau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

General enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230

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Twitter: @financecanada


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