Ottawa has spent $32-million on flights for Syrian refugees

Feb 25, 2016

The federal government has spent more than $32-million on flights to carry Syrian refugees from Jordan to Canada.

The massive effort to bring 25,000 of the refugees to Canada before Feb. 29 started in December with a Canadian Forces Airbus carrying the first group, but since then the airlift has relied on planes chartered from commercial airlines.

The trans-Atlantic trips, from Amman’s Marka airport to either Montreal or Toronto, have cost an average of roughly $377,000 per flight, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

There were 88 flights that carried 23,098 Syrian refugees from Amman to Canada between Dec. 15 and Feb. 22, according to a tracker on the Immigration Department’s website. That means the total cost of trans-Atlantic flights is now more than $32-million.

That works out to roughly $1,436 a person – a sum that is higher than fares available for tickets on ordinary commercial flights offered by some of the same airlines that are chartering flights for the government.

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