IATA welcomes the Canadian federal government's decision to reduce the Air Travellers Security Charge in its budget statement on 23 March. "IATA has long called on Governments to take responsibility for the costs of aviation security in the same way as other matters of national security. The Canadian Government's decision is a clear move in the right direction. I commend Transport Minister Valeri for returning air transport issues to the Canadian Government's agenda," said IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani.

International air transport experienced fundamental changes in its cost structure and charges in the post-September 11 period. Cost reduction across the board is an industry imperative. Airlines have re-structured and re-engineered their businesses to provide efficient air transport to customers demanding increasingly lower fares.

Costs beyond the control of airlines, however, continue to rise. "Along with taking responsibility for national security, Governments must also ensure that monopoly services providers like airports and air traffic control agencies keep pace with the industry's hard work to meet consumer expectations," said Bisignani.

Bisignani took special note of Greater Toronto Airport Authority's plan to increase landing charges by 27.4% in 2004. "This is the time for the Canadian Government to show leadership in reining in the airport's mis-managed plans to fund its overbuilt expansion project. While claiming to be world-class, Toronto airport is completely out-of-step with the most fundamental of the industry's global priorities - increasing efficiency and reducing costs."

Note to Editors

The Canadian federal budget announced on 23 March reduced the Air Travellers' Security Charge with effect from April 1, 2004. Reduction were as follows: $2 off round trip domestic flights (from $14 to $12), $2 off round trip U.S. trans-border flights (from $12 to $10), and $4 off round trip international flights (from $24 to $20).