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May 14, 2008 | General

Beginning January 5, 2000 the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF), paid by departing passengers at Edmonton International Airport to fund the Air Terminal Redevelopment project, will be included in the price of airline tickets.

The fee has been paid at the airport since implementation on April 12, 1997. The majority of passengers have consistently indicated their preference to have it included in the cost of their tickets to improve convenience. To accommodate that preference, Edmonton Airports continued to work with the major airlines to reach an agreement. Those efforts culminated in October 1999 when all involved parties agreed to the change.

Edmonton Airports President and CEO Mr. Scott Clements states that…
“The Air Terminal Redevelopment plan is not only an affordable and financially sustainable project with built-in pause points to allow for continuation at an appropriate pace, but also a major step forward in customer service.”

Canadian Airlines Vice President and Controller Mr. Mark Williams says this about the pending change in the collection of the Airport Improvement Fee at Edmonton International Airport…
“Ease and convenience for our customers is a top priority. We are pleased to partner with Edmonton Airports in a new process that ultimately saves time for our passengers while ensuring ongoing enhancements to airport facilities in Edmonton.”

Airline collection of the AIF permits the collection of only one amount. As a result, the current two-tiered fee structure ($5 for departures from the International Airport to destinations within Alberta and $10 for departures to destinations outside Alberta) will change on January 5, 2000 to a flat $10 plus GST. The increase to a flat rate fee will have a direct impact on 14% of all departing passengers.

The following list itemizes those passengers exempt from the fee:

Children under two
Aircraft crew on duty
Airline staff traveling on business
In-transit passengers remaining on board an aircraft
Passengers connecting within four hours for domestic/transborder flights and 24 hours for international flights
Edmonton International Airport is approaching 40 years of age and was designed to accommodate 2.5 million passengers a year. Today, approximately four million passengers use this airport, clearly demonstrating the need for expansion.

The Edmonton International Airport ATR project consists of three phases:

Phase I cost $40 million and resulted in completion of a design, award-winning, 1,800 stall parkade last December as well as structural changes to the existing terminal building and roadway improvements.

Phase II cost $131 million, began in July and includes a new terminal that will almost double the size of available passenger facilities and expansion of the apron area where aircraft maneuver and park. This phase is scheduled for completion before the end of next year.

Phase III, which has only been approved in principle by Edmonton Airports Board of Directors could cost up to $55 million and includes a central hall connecting the existing and new terminal buildings and other improvements and upgrades.
It is important to note that as a result of industry de-regulation in 1992, Canadian airports stopped receiving tax monies for major facility upgrades, and have been solely responsible for generating sources of revenue for this purpose.

The revised Airport Improvement Fee will generate an additional one million dollars a year based on current passenger volumes. Since implementation of the fee in 1997, Edmonton Airports has realized an average of about $14 million a year in revenue, all of which has been used exclusively to fund the redevelopment project.

Regardless of the change in how the fee is paid, Edmonton Airports remains committed to a transparent reporting process that has the monies kept in a separate account and itemized separately in financial statements.

Airport Improvement Fees are also in place in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Montreal and St. John’s. In Vancouver, Thunder Bay and Montreal the fees continue to be paid at the airports.

The collection process at Edmonton International Airport is currently administered through a service contract with an outside agency that will end on January 4, 2000.