Here's the AIF (airport improvement fee) charges for the 6 largest airports in Canada;
I'm flying YUL-YVR-YUL next week. That'll be $50 in AIF charges (roughly 10% of the total cost).
Between the HST/GST/QST, AIF's, airport rent and various other taxes/fees Canadians are absolutely being hosed. The Federal public service is strangling consumers with more and more taxes while providing less and less services in return. Imagine how much higher the traffic figures would be if the feds would loosen the tax chokehold?
The AIFs aren't taxes. The main airport "taxes" in a plane ticket are the "rents" paid by the Airport Authorities and the "payments in-lieu of taxes" to municipalities. One could argue those are too high. I wouldn't count the GST (or HST) as flying is a service and you'll pay the service tax on anything that is a service. CATSA's "fees" are definitely a "tax", but once CATSA is privatized they really will be "fees".
I will comment on the HST / GST side of things from an Ontario perspective since I work in taxation here.
Prior to 2011 Ontario never charged a a sales tax for flying, we just had the GST. Domestic Flights were PST exempt prior to 2011, when HST came out we got a new 8% tax on flying domestically in the province. So we have not always had tax on things that are a service, there are lots of services in the country we do not pay HST on. Mostly for political reasons vs anything else.
GST has been on flights since its inception. But we do not charge the GST on international flights, except for one country - The USA. Why do we do this? Assume government doesn't think the economics benefits of cutting this tax outweigh the money it brings in. I also doubt most people know we charge GST to only one country outside of Canada.
Ontario also brought in a new Jet fuel tax in 2015, and it is increasing each year until 2020. We also have the carbon tax on jet fuel as well, which came in under the provincial Liberals, removed under provincial Conservatives and brought back by Federal Liberals. The carbon tax will be increasing annually, so expect that reflected in price of tickets. I think the last report I read said by 2025 Toronto - Vancouver RT would increase by $50 just via the carbon tax.
Ontario also has pretty big tax credits for Northern Ontario, I think per flight Thunder Bay gets the most money but would need to look this up again. Sault Saint Marie is number 2 (and really not even that North).