Boost Canadian Investment: Why Ottawa Should Consider Airport Privatization for Pension Funds

Opinion: As Ottawa courts pension funds to invest more in Canada, airport privatization should be on the agenda

“Canada’s pension funds have long been hesitant to invest more in the domestic economy, but there is one sector where they are eager to pour their money – the capital-starved airports. As global air travel continues to boom, Canadian airports are struggling to keep up with the demand. But with limited options for raising capital, they are looking to pension funds for a lifeline.

Investing in the Future of Airports

The Maple 8 pension funds, made up of Canada’s largest pension funds, have historically turned to foreign airports for investment opportunities. However, with the resurgence of air travel post-pandemic, the demand for domestic airport infrastructure has never been higher. The Canadian airports are in desperate need of funds to upgrade and expand their facilities to accommodate the growing number of passengers.

Federal Support and Policy Changes

In a promising move, the federal government has shown interest in exploring pension fund investments in airports. In the recent budget, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland highlighted airports as a potential investment opportunity for pension funds. With a new working group led by former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, there is hope for policy changes that would allow pension funds to invest in airport infrastructure.

Challenges and Opportunities

While there are concerns about privatization and profit-driven models for airports, evidence from Europe suggests that private ownership can lead to lower fees and improved competitiveness. With Canadian airports facing escalating costs and falling behind their global counterparts, bold measures are needed to ensure their future success and sustainability.

Conclusion: A Call for Bold Action

As Canadian airports race to accommodate millions of additional passengers in the coming years, bold action is needed from the federal government. With the potential for pension fund investments to boost airport infrastructure, it’s time for Ottawa to think big and take decisive steps to ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of Canada’s airports for years to come.”



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