From 1992 to 2003, under a National Airports Policy, the 26 largest Canadian airports (out of more than 100 in total) began to be transferred from the control of the Federal Government to newly created local airport authorities. The airports are operated as not-for-profit facilities with stakeholders drawn from a range of public and private sector functions. Only a couple – Vancouver and Montreal – engage in any management activity outside of their own city through subsidiaries. The Government retained ownership of the 26 airports and charges high lease payments within very long leases, that are in turn recouped from landing charges. The airports have been complaining about the rents for many years without much success. But with passengers deserting Canadian border airports (and almost all the main ones are on the border) for cheaper airports in the US, the question is whether it is time for an alternative model.
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