Porter Island Airport Expansion

Should Porter be allowed to expand the Island Airport?

Earlier today Porter announced plans for a major expansion at the Island Airport, one that's sure to cause heated debate amongst downtown residents and at city council. The key points of the proposal include a request to allow jets to be flown out of Billy Bishop and for an extension of 10 per cent to either end of the airport. When news surfaced that the company had placed an order for 30 jets from Bombardier, it seemed like Porter was set to transfer significant operations to Pearson International on account of existing regulations at the Island. Nope.

If you live in a lakefront condo and are worried about the extra air traffic that such a proposal would bring to your front window, there's probably no need to panic just yet. Porter has quite a few hurdles to climb to make this happen. The regulations at YTZ are the product of an agreement between the municipal government, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority — so all three parties will have to convinced of the merits of these plans before the airline can proceed.

Should Porter succeed, you can expect the company to add 14 new destinations, most of which are far longer routes than they currently offer. As to the likelihood of that happening, it's anyone's guess right now. The mayor has expressed support for expanded service at the Island Airport before, but area councillor Adam Vaughan will fight tooth and nail to prevent jet traffic in his ward. And that's not to mention the type of lobbying that an organization like CommunityAIR will do to block Porter's plans.

One of the obvious objections to the proposal is that an alteration to the regulations won't just apply to Porter, who claims the jets they have on order make no more noise that the turbo props they have in service right now. That may be the case, but other carriers with potentially louder planes would also stand to benefit from a decision to allow jet traffic on the Island.

Where do you stand? Would you like to see Porter's service at the Island expanded to include jets and new destinations? Or is the cost to our waterfront too high?

Photo by i duke in the blogTO Flickr pool


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