VICTORIA – British Columbia has delivered on its promise to eliminate the aviation fuel tax for international flights, reducing costs for airlines, creating jobs, giving travelers more choice and supporting the ‘Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan’ goal of expanding markets. The change is effective April 1.

Each new daily international flight creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). About 400 additional indirect jobs are created in the community at businesses such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators, among others.

The elimination of the aviation fuel tax means increased competition and more flights, which translates to more seats, more choice and ultimately more competitive pricing for consumers. This change increases B.C.’s competitiveness and brings the province in line with the neighbouring jurisdictions of Alberta, Washington and California, which do not have a comparable fuel tax.

B.C.’s proximity to the Asia-Pacific region makes the province ideally situated to take advantage of a growing demand for Canadian products such as coal, forest products, seafood, liquefied natural gas and potash. More flights will give B.C. businesses greater access to foreign markets, including the growing economies of China, India, Korea and Japan.

The change provides greater financial certainty for airlines, allowing them to invest in expansion with more confidence. The elimination of this tax will save airlines approximately $12 million in 2012-13.

YVR is an important economic generator for B.C. Since the government announced plans to eliminate the aviation fuel tax and support YVR’s growth plans in September 2010, the airport has signed agreements with 22 airlines to encourage the expansion of flights to YVR and create new jobs for British Columbians.

The Province has invested $65.5 million to improve 36 airports throughout the province in the past decade. Completed improvements include projects in Prince George, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Campbell River, Comox, Castlegar, Kelowna and Abbotsford.