BC delivers on commitment to eliminate jet fuel tax

British Columbia has delivered on a promise to eliminate the aviation fuel tax for international flights, effective April 1, a move welcomed by TIAC, the NACC, Air Canada and WestJet. According to officials, the initiative will reduce costs for airlines, create jobs and give travellers more choice while supporting the “Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan”goal of expanding markets. Each new daily international flight creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport. About 400 additional indirect jobs are created in the community at business such as hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and tour operators. According to TIAC, today’s announcement will promote tourism growth and drive economic activity throughout BC and across the country. “The elimination of provincial fuel taxes on international flights is a welcomed first step towards reducing the high cost of aviation in Canada,”said David Goldstein, president and CEO of TIAC. “It sends a strong signal that British Columbia is open for business by helping its air carriers increase international flight frequencies and passenger capacity.”He added British Columbia has set the bar very high for other jurisdictions. We urge other governments across the country to follow BC’s lead to reduce Canada’s aviation cost structure.””We applaud the BC government for their progressive actions in eliminating the provincial aviation fuel tax on international flights. In addition, we thank the Vancouver Airport Authority for their initiative to hold in line landing and terminal fees until 2015. These types of initiatives help contribute to the competitiveness of the Canadian aviation landscape in the global marketplace,”says Ben Smith, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer at Air Canada. “Following the progressive example now set by the province of BC and in 2004 by the Province of Alberta, we urge all governments and authorities to work with the industry as partners in the development of sustainable air services with the economic spin-offs that result.”The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) has also applauded the move. “We commend the BC government for its commitment to the aviation sector. Despite facing fiscal challenges, the BC government has nevertheless demonstrated vision and leadership in recognizing the value of the aviation industry as an economic engine, facilitator of growth and enabler of travel and tourism. I wish to congratulate Premier Clark and her cabinet colleagues. We strongly encourage other provinces and the federal government to follow their lead,”said NACC president George Petsikas. WestJet also congratulated the BC government. “The decision to remove this tax represents a clear commitment to support the growth and job creation that aviation brings to the economy of British Columbia. At a time when fees and taxes associated with air travel continue to impact the industry’s competitiveness, we encourage other governments in Canada who have yet to act on this important issue to introduce similar measures to reduce or eliminate fees and taxes,”said WestJet president Gregg Saretsky.