NAV Canada said it plans to extend the 3.9% base-rate decrease implemented in September 2016 that was set to expire in August 2017.

The independent, non-profit entity that manages and operates Canada’s air traffic control system also plans to provide users a one-time collective refund totaling C$60 million ($44.6 million). The benefits of the extended rate decrease and one-time refund will mostly be enjoyed by airlines.

“The strong traffic results in the current fiscal year (2017) and forecasts for fiscal 2018 have enabled the company to propose these changes, the second year in a row that base rates will have been reduced,” NAV Canada, which noted it has not increased service charges in 13 years, said in a statement. NAV Canada’s next fiscal year starts Sept. 1.

NAV Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson said, “Service charges were set to rise on Sept. 1 when an existing temporary one-year rate reduction expired, which would have increased costs for customers. Not only does this rate proposal supersede that increase, it also returns C$60 million to our customers.” 

Wilson said the changes are enabled by higher-than-expected ait traffic growth. “This growth has been driven primarily through the expansion of low-cost carrier operations, particularly on the North Atlantic,” Wilson said. “We are forecasting that traffic growth will remain fairly strong through fiscal 2018, putting us in a position to deliver savings to customers while increasing our planned investments in people, technology and facilities.”

Aaron Karp