June 18, 1998
(Works, Services and Transportation)

Province, NAV Canada discuss concerns

Cabinet Ministers Lloyd Matthews and Sandra Kelly presented some of their views and concerns regarding air navigation to the NAV Canada Board of Directors in Gander on Tuesday. Works, Services and Transportation Minister Lloyd Matthews, and Sandra Kelly, MHA for the district of Gander said the meeting proved positive.

"We feel that NAV Canada's presence in Gander contributes to the overall economic growth of the town," said Kelly. "The technical expertise provided by NAV Canada's 300 employees in Gander has tremendous potential for further economic growth opportunities. The Gander facility is capable of becoming a centre of excellence as a research and training facility for air navigation," added MHA Kelly.

Minister Matthews also welcomed the opportunity to discuss the economic potential of the Gander facility. "The decision to consolidate Atlantic airspace control in Gander is an expression of the corporation's confidence in the Area Control Centre and indicative of the long term viability of the Gander Centre," said Minister Matthews. "We feel any additional studies will re-affirm Gander's role as the designated Area Control Centre for the Atlantic region."

The implementation of user fees was also addressed by Minister Matthews. "We are concerned that the implementation of user fees could be prohibitive, causing some airlines to utilize other airports for technical stops." As well, the minister raised concerns about the implementation of across the board fees based on aircraft size while failing to take into account the load factor of some routes. "Some of the remote and less travelled routes could end up with greater per passenger fares if the airlines are unable to spread the fees over full loads and partial loads. This is a particular concern for Newfoundland and Labrador." Finally, the minister urged the board to exempt provincial aircraft such as air ambulance and fire suppression aircraft from the fee structure. "We feel there is a need for more in-depth examination of the full impact of the user fees."

Both Minister Matthews and Minister Kelly felt the meeting was very positive. "I appreciate the opportunity to express some of our concerns and NAV Canada's Board of Directors gave a commitment to reflect on our presentation and report back to us," concluded Minister Matthews.

Contact: Jill Sooley (709) 729-3015.

1998 06 18 1:40 p.m.


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