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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An airport management method for Canada in the 1990's : lessons from the Canadian and American experience Brennan, Robert Gerald Lewis


During the last forty years metropolitan airports in Canada have been controlled by a federal authority and managed with a minimum of input from local sources. The situation under which this control was first initiated has changed radically since that time; a shrinking world combined with greatly increased traffic means that airports require more efficient planning and management of resources than in the past when they were not effectively integrated into an urban planning scheme. The thesis examines the effectiveness of airport management using five criteria: the implementation of a national aviation policy, the administration of technology and aviation growth, the acquisition of funds for airport development, the effect of political suasion on airport management and the balancing of airport management goals and community goals. Several models of airport management from both Canada and the United States are used. The main aim is to show how decentralization of airport management is necessary to meet late-twentieth century and future demands. The research method for the thesis is a comparative analysis of airport management's effectiveness in Canada and the United States using the five criteria. The airports chosen for the thesis for both Canada and the United States represent the centres for moving seventy to eighty percent of the passenger traffic in these countries. It is concluded that the present Canadian federal ministerial management method has been unsuccessful in: implementing fully national aviation policies, responding effectively to the process of deregulation, reducing the political nature of development decisions at the airports, and providing funds for airport development where required. While American methods of airport management furnish useful insights they can not be applied in the same way in Canada because of different political structures. Airports under municipal control risk domination by local political issues and ineffective integration into a national and international network. The airport authority as an autonomous body offers the best structure for responding to the changing needs of a wide variety of users. The less partisan nature of the decision-making process of the airport authority would be a vast improvement over the ministerial approach for: implementation of a national aviation policy, the management of the process of deregulation, the elimination of unnecessary political intervention with airport decisions, and increased access to funds for airport development.

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