December 14, 2001


The following is being distributed at the request of Wally Andersen, MHA - Torngat Mountains:

Andersen calls on Ottawa to scrap plans
to impose Air Travellers Security Charge

Torngat Mountains MHA Wally Andersen has written federal Transport Minister David Collenette expressing his concerns about the proposed Air Travellers Security Charge and the impacts it will have on residents of northern Labrador.

"All of the communities in my district are isolated, with no road links to each other or to other parts of the province or country and, as such, rely heavily upon air transportation," said Mr. Andersen. "There are no security services provided at the coastal airstrips, yet the people of the north coast are expected to pay this new security charge."

The new surcharge, announced in the December 10 federal budget as part of new air security measures in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, is slated to come into effect April 1, 2001. Air travellers will be required to pay $24 per return domestic flight.

"I have been informed that the new fee will be applied to all aircraft in excess of 6,000 pounds, which would affect the aircraft of both primary carriers on the north coast, namely Provincial Airlines and Air Labrador, which use Twin Otters and similar aircraft," Mr. Andersen said. 

"These fees should not be applied to the north coast, or in other regions where security services are not provided," Mr. Andersen added. "To charge these fees would place an unnecessary and unjustified burden on residents of small northern, isolated communities who already face an extremely high cost of living."

Mr. Andersen noted that a one-way ticket from Postville to Makkovik will increase from $73.60 (HST included) to $86.50 if the surcharge is implemented.

"I understand that there will be a review of these charges," the MHA said. "Hopefully, that review will occur before they are implemented, and that amendments are made to ensure people living in isolated areas of the country, such as those in my district, are not forced to pay for increased security where no security currently exists."

The MHA also noted in his letter to the minister that the small terminals on the north coast are, at times, unable to accommodate all passengers when both operators offer similar schedules.

"Some of these passengers are forced to move outside in sub-zero temperatures while other passengers and freight are processed," he said.

Media contact: Wally Andersen, MHA - Torngat Mountains, (709) 729-0990.

2001 12 14                            4:40 p.m.

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