Council goes to bat for Sault Airport

Sault Ste. Marie Airport

Sault Ste. Marie city council passed a resolution asking different levels of government for help funding the airport.

According to Terry Bos, the president and CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Airport and Development Corporation, the proposal comes as a result of efforts made by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

“At this time there has been no support provided to the aviation industry from any level of government,” said Bos in an email. “Some of us by nature of our ownership have been able to participate in the CEWS (Wage Subsidy) but it comes nowhere near covering the loss of revenue that has been sustained by regional sized airports such as us that have seen almost all revenue dry up from the restrictions on travel such as the quarantine act.”

From April through to August of this year the airport has seen a reduction in passenger levels of over 93 percent. Revenues are also down between 77 and 87 percent in each of those months.

Bos says without government assistance the long-term viability and sustainability of the industry are at stake.

Ward three councillor Matt Shoemaker says the airport requested this item be put on the agenda and he brought the motion forward.

“They are vital to our economy since they make the Sault accessible to the world around us,” said Shoemaker. “Without the airport, the success of major industries like Algoma Steel would be much more difficult because suppliers and customers would have a harder time reaching them. In our globalized world, the ongoing success of our airport makes us a global city.”

“Airports cannot survive very much longer at 20% of normal revenue streams even if they are eligible for the wage subsidy,” said Bos.

Council agreed and passed a motion to petition levels of government for assistance.

By: Dan Gray