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May 16, 2008 | General

EDMONTON — Edmonton Airports President and CEO Scott Clements today confirmed details of the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) which will be collected from passengers to fund an expanded and renovated Air Terminal Building at Edmonton International Airport.

The Board of Directors of Edmonton Airports approved a fee of $10 for each departing passenger, to be collected starting on Saturday, April 12, 1997. The fee will be collected by the airport at the departure gates.

Money collected will be directed exclusively to capital projects which expand and renovate the terminal building, and to paying bank financing costs. When those bills are paid, the fee will be terminated. The length of time the fee is needed will depend on factors such as interest rates, the exact costs incurred, and the number of passengers who use the facility. The time frame will be approximately 15 to 20 years.

Further details of the user fee, including such options as bulk purchases for frequent flyers and payment methods, will be worked out over the next four months, said Clements.

“At the same time, work will continue on the terminal building project,” said Clements. “We expect to have architectural conceptions to show the public in the spring, and actual construction of apron and parking areas to begin in 1997. I want to assure the public that we will be economical in our choices. When every dollar is being collected from passengers, it is critical that every dollar be spent prudently.

“We would have preferred the airlines to collect the fee as part of the ticket price, as that would have been more convenient for passengers,” continued Clements. “Regrettably, after a year of negotiations with airlines, we were unable to reach agreement on the conditions under which airlines would collect and remit the fee to us.”

Clements also noted that Edmonton Airports is not alone in the need to collect a passenger fee. “Other airports including Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa also need major capital improvements and will need to raise revenues to pay for them. The National Airports Policy no longer allows airports to request money from general federal tax revenues to pay for these upgrades.”