January 22, 2021
The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is urging Nav Canada to reconsider their decision to remove Windsor’s air traffic control. “As a voice of business in Windsor and Essex County, we recognize the Windsor Airport as a fundamental pillar of our society, indispensable to our daily lives and essential for social progress and economic prosperity” said Rakesh Naidu, President & CEO of the Windsor-Essex Chamber.
“It is widely understood that connectivity is key to sustaining our local companies and bringing new investment into the region. The Windsor Airport plays an important role in the sustenance and growth of the regional economy.” continued Naidu.
The Windsor-Essex Chamber recognizes the induced and indirect impacts on our region. “One of the reasons why we have such a strong manufacturing sector is because our companies have embraced just-in-time manufacturing.” added Naidu. “The manufacturing sector has benefitted from having an airport that is able to fly cargo in & out when needed, especially in emergencies. In several cases, the airport has been instrumental in avoiding plant shutdowns by bringing in products & components at the 11th hour and supporting the just in time production practices of our manufacturing companies. This impacts not just our region, but the whole of Southwest Ontario and the neighbouring areas in the United States.”
The Windsor Airport has been instrumental in creating business opportunities around the airport and within the airport property. There are currently over one thousand businesses within 5 kms of the airport. These companies either use the airport services or rely on the airport for business. Restaurants, car rentals, hotels & motels are just a few of the businesses that will be impacted if the airport’s operations and traffic volume are reduced. Additionally, local businesses such as the MRO, flying schools, and others that employ hundreds of employees stand to be negatively affected.
“It is our fear that, if the airport is operated with uncontrolled towers, some airlines may choose to not fly in, or reduce their flights into the Windsor Airport.” commented Naidu. “This decision will impact the businesses in the region. At this time, when COVID has already devasted several businesses, any change to the airport will be another blow to the business community here, especially the hundreds of SMEs.”
Windsor-Essex is a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point – one of the only 3 in Ontario. This FTZ designation was awarded to the region by the Federal government in 2017. One of the key factors contributing to receiving the designation was the presence of a fully functional and operational airport. Further, the Windsor-Essex Chamber recognizes that the airport has been working hard to support economic growth by attracting strategic tenants to its property. The airport land is an important piece of infrastructure we have to attract large and small projects to our region. This ability will get negatively impacted if the airport’s operations are disrupted.
The Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce considers NAV Canada’s review to be ill-timed, and believes it has the potential to reverse the growth and the economic impact the airport has on the Windsor-Essex region.
At this time, the Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce continues to urge NAV Canada to reconsider their decision in the interest of protecting the airport, and the businesses in the Windsor Essex region and beyond.