Thunder Bay International Airports Authority is receiving $3.5M from federal government to maintain regional connectivity and jobs

News release

Targeted FedNor support for regional transportation ecosystem in Thunder Bay

August 12, 2021 – Thunder Bay, ON – Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario – FedNor

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

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, today announced more than $3.5 million in financial support for the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority (TBIAA). This non-repayable contribution will help mitigate the financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the operations of the Thunder Bay International airport for a one-year period. The project is expected to help maintain more than 27 local jobs. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses right across Canada. It is essential to connecting Canadians living in 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 FedNor

“The Thunder Bay International Airport is the busiest airport in Northwestern Ontario and a critical hub for our communities. Today’s investment of more than $3.5 million will make sure the airport can continue to operate and keep us all connected.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North, and Minister of Health

"The pandemic has taught us how important connection is.  Our government's investment of $3.5 million into the Thunder Bay Airport will ensure that air transportation continues to keep our families, friends and our economy connected to the rest of Canada and the world.  This investment will help Thunder Bay and our regional economy build back better while contributing to the growth of our communities and businesses."
- Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

“The Thunder Bay airport is both an essential economic driver and a vital community resource for the residents, and businesses of Thunder Bay and neighboring regions. This FedNor funding will help to ensure that it continues to play a key role in our economic recovery and future growth. I’m pleased that the Government of Canada understands the importance of this local asset and is investing to secure its sustainability.”
- Bill Mauro, Mayor of Thunder Bay

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions and economic woes for the air transportation sector and the Thunder Bay International Airport has not been spared. I wish to recognize the Government of Canada for this important investment through FedNor that will help us continue to service the communities and businesses of this region.”
- Dave Siciliano, Chair of the Board, Thunder Bay International Airports Authority

Quick facts

  • The 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 RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

Associated links


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

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer

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