London International Airport Funding Announcement

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)

London, Ontario
November 30, 2009

Check against delivery

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, friends and honoured guests. 

It is my pleasure to be back in London.

I want to express my gratitude to the London International Airport for hosting us today.

As you know, the London International Airport is a critical economic hub in the industrial heartland of southwestern Ontario.

The airport generates an economic impact to the area in excess of $350 million a year through tourism, economic development and trade. 

Over 50 small-and-medium-sized businesses call the airport home and employ more than 1,000 people. 

And as you know, it is ideally located at the junction of two major cross border highways, the 401 and the 402.

Along with premiere rail and air access, London and the airport are ideally positioned to be a leader in transportation.

The City and the airport are also emerging as an economic gateway in North America for international trade. They will be a driving force for advanced manufacturing, agri-food processing, commercial and industrial growth in the City and the region.

Like the City's slogan says, "come for business, stay for life."  London offers a world of opportunities, and a commitment to business growth.

In fact, this airport has seen a growth of 400% in cargo tonnage over the last five years.

In December 2008, our government showed its commitment to developing air cargo transportation in this region when my colleague, John Baird announced that the airport was eligible to participate in the International Air Cargo Transshipment Program. 

This program allows international air cargo to be moved through the airport for shipment to other countries, enabling the airport to seek new market opportunities, remain competitive and further develop its air cargo activity.

Which brings me to the reason we are gathered here today.

I am proud to announce that our government is expanding on that commitment by investing $8 million over the next two years for the London International Airport to establish an International Air Freight Terminal.  

The London International Airport and the City of London are also contributing to this $11 million project.

This investment will benefit Londoners and local businesses throughout the region, and help London become a leading transportation and economic gateway in North America.

It will create new business and new jobs in southwestern Ontario, through the construction of the facility and as a result of the economic development this project will stimulate. Locally, it will create over 150 jobs—this is important for London, as we fight the recession and help those who have lost their jobs because of the global downturn.

The new cargo terminal will generate nearly 100 initial jobs consisting of freight handling, packaging and handling logistics, with an additional 50 jobs to support customs activities and trucking.

This project will increase the airport's capacity to help local goods and services reach new markets, provide significant new trading opportunities and develop leading-edge facilities to address manufacturing, logistics, and the transportation of value-added goods and commerce developed in the region.

We are moving quickly to get funding into communities where it's needed most through partnerships such as this one. We want to make it clear that our government understands the unique pressures facing southern Ontario in the midst of the global economic slowdown.

Our government's contribution to this project comes from the Southern Ontario Development Program.

This $100-million program is the core program for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

We allocated $1 billion to the Agency as part of our Economic Action Plan to establish a path for our future economic success.

The good news is the plan is working. We have seen signs recently that our action plan is having a real impact.

But we realize that we still need to do more and this is no time to slow down. Our Economic Action Plan continues to build hope for all regions of the country, and here in southern Ontario. For this region to succeed, we must continue to support the people, the businesses and the industries of this region. 

We understand the challenges facing our industries, and the obstacles our businesses must overcome to grow, be competitive, innovate and diversify their products. 

And we will continue working hard, to address these needs in order to ensure that we emerge from these challenging economic times on top, so that London and southern Ontario are positioned today, to lead the economy of tomorrow.

Thank you. Merci.

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