COPA President Kevin Psutka says a proposed wording change in Aeronautics Act may fundamentally change the federal government’s role in the approval of airports and give some of that authority to local and provincial jurisdictions.
“For over 60 years, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Courts of Appeal of this country have recognized the importance of aerodromes of every size in a unified, vibrant and sustainable air transportation system; identifying such as a matter of national importance…,” Psutka wrote in the letter. As such, the federal government now has sole jurisdiction over the approval and regulation of airports. The proposed changes might give municipal and provincial authorities a say in that process and Psutka says that’s a direct threat to the integrity of the airports system.
He said local authorities don’t have the broad view of their airport as part of a national system and no stake in maintaining it as such. Therefore, he said, local decisions are often anti-airport. Psutka says the changes are also ambiguous and need to be clarified so all involved know what the intent is.
COPA is challenging the process. “At this point, we do not know for sure the extent that this will affect registered and unregistered aerodromes, including existing ones, but we have submitted our comments to Transport Canada and demanded that extensive discussion with our sector of aviation occur before any amendments take place,” Psutka wrote in his monthly column in the COPA publication.