Canada Regulates Privatized Airports

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Canada's government is giving its major airports a blueprint on the fees it can charge for aeronautical and passenger services. The government has introduced the Canada Airports Act in Parliament. And since the governing Liberal Party controls Parliament by a hefty majority, the proposed legislation is almost sure to pass. Much of the new act formalizes a blurry relationship between the government, which owns the country's 30 or so major airports, and the local airport authorities that lease them. The act will set limits on the fees the local authorities can charge, such as airport improvement fees that are a $5 to $10 addition at many Canadian airports. Transport Minister David Collenette said the act ensures that airport authorities put the money where they're supposed to and don't charge more than the stated purpose of the fee. He doesn't define "airport improvements." Any fee hikes have to go through a notification and comment process. The act also ensures that airport authorities don't play favorites with airlines by demanding "equitable access for airlines to essential airport facilities and services" as well as slot coordination. In other words, the airport authorities may run the airports, but they definitely are not in charge.