Nav Canada considering easing air fees
Changes would mean more room to manoeuvre, NATA president says

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 24/98) - The president of the Northern Air Transport Association views Nav Canada's revised fee schedule as positive.

But, said Bob Davies, also a director with Canadian North, there is still work to be done.

On Aug. 14, Nav Canada submitted proposed fee schedule changes to the minister of Transport.

Nav Canada said Tuesday exemptions and deferrals in the revised fee schedule will save Northern air carriers -- those operating in the NWT and Yukon territories -- several million dollars through October of next year.

Nav Canada is the organization running the country's air transportation services.

The new fee schedule, which applies to aircraft under eight tonnes, "provides breathing room," Davies said.

"We view this as positive and an opportunity to further discuss the issue."

Nav Canada president and chief executive officer John Crichton said, "Users and stakeholders in the North gave us input, we listened and we responded with a package that not only recognizes the North is special but, more importantly, delivers substantial savings."

Nav Canada estimates a series of deferrals and exemptions will save $6 million in the 12 months ending Nov. 1, 1999.

The GNWT is reviewing the latest information and a formal comment is anticipated.

Nav Canada also said that users of the North's air transportation system stand to gain from the elimination of the air transportation tax Nov. 1, as well as from the deferral to March 1, 1999, of most phase 2 fees.

"This is a real plus for the North, a period in which there will be no new tax, no new fees and no new increases in fees," Crichton said.

The $6 million includes continuation of exemptions already in place for aircraft using about 40 Northern community aerodrome radio stations (this represents about $2 million). This means Northern users do not pay en route charges when flying between CARS airports nor do they pay terminal service charges for taking off from a CARS airport.

Nav Canada is also proposing to defer the terminal service charge for all locations north of 60 by one year to Nov. 1, 1999. Combined with the proposal to defer implementation of phase 2 increases, including increases to existing fees and new fees for aircraft weighing less than eight tonnes, this represents about $4 million.

Other proposals include: Flights aborted due to weather are exempted; 50 per cent fee reduction for flights dedicated to fighting fires and related training.