Penticton MP calls for new funding model for Nav Canada | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton MP calls for new funding model for Nav Canada

Penticton MP Richard Cannings suggested the federal government consider new funding models for Nav Canada at a House of Commons committee meeting yesterday, Jan. 28, 2021, as COVID-19 continues to ravage the aviation industry in the Thompson - Okanagan.
January 31, 2021 - 6:00 PM

South Okanagan - West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings is concerned for the recovery of local airport operations as the aviation business continues to be ravaged by COVID-19.

The MP for Penticton took part in discussions with the House of Commons standing committee on transport, Jan. 28.

The committee was studying the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation industry beyond airlines, Cannings says, noting the two regional airports in his riding – Penticton and Castlegar – have been badly hit by the pandemic.

“Nav Canada doesn’t have any money anymore. Their operations are funded by the number of passengers flying in and out of our airports,” Cannings says, noting airlines have cut service by as much as 90 per cent due to the pandemic.

READ MORE: Flying in and out of Kelowna is going to look a lot different

Cannings says he asked the committee if it was time to look at a new funding model or governance model for Nav Canada.

“There were commercial pilots and air traffic controllers at the meeting who agreed with me,” Cannings says.

Cannings says he’s worried about what will happen when the pandemic ends. He’s concerned it will take years instead of weeks or months for air travel to return to normal as people in the industry get laid off and move on to other things, and services are cut back.

“There needs to be support to keep these services going and people working in those services, or what will be left when all this is over?” he says. "Nav Canada is one piece of it. They control airport operations, but there’s also airlines. Last fall, sector-specific supports were being considered, but there has been no word on the outcome of those negotiations yet."

The Penticton MP expressed concern nothing is happening, and eventually the government will end up throwing a lot of money at big corporations like Air Canada, instead of putting towards keeping regional services operating.


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