toronto airport

Canadian politician has solution to Toronto's airport problem that could work

Everyone in the world apparently now knows how much of a fiasco trying to get into or out of Toronto Pearson International Airport is lately, and amid desperate attempts to hire more staff and promises of more resources from the federal government to help, the situation is not appearing to get any better.

But, one Canadian leader has just proposed a new solution that he's vowing to put it into motion if he's ever elected.

MP Pierre Poilievre, who is considered the frontrunner in the campaign to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, issued a press release on Thursday about his future plans to "remove Toronto gatekeepers" and let jets fly through the city's much smaller island airport, Billy Bishop, if he ever becomes prime minister.

The bid to permit not just turboprop aircraft but also jets at the aiport, as Torontonians know, was quashed some years ago as residents fought against it on the basiss of the potential noise, emissions and more (the idea was even opposed by Air Canada).

Remove the gatekeepers. Approve the Billy Bishop Airport expansion in Toronto.

Give travellers more options from the zoo and chaos at Pearson.

Chip in here if you agree: https://t.co/iLY4vGFNvThttps://t.co/E5TlnFsvKT pic.twitter.com/yIHSMR8eBk

"Travel at Pearson is a mess right now. There could have been way more flights out of Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto, meaning more competition and more choice, but the dreadful gatekeepers wouldn't let it happen," Poilievre wrote today, saying he wants to reverse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision on the matter and expand the tiny hub.

He also noted that Billy Bishop was the ninth-busiest airport in the country based passenger traffic in 2019, with 2.8 million customers, and that "with jets, Billy Bishop could expand to over 4.8 million passengers per year... [and] take pressure off overstressed Pearson airport."

Though the idea does make a bit of sense, people have been quick to point out a lot of obvious issues with the logistics — such as the physical limitations of the island space, the Tripartite Agreement that governs aircraft operations from the airport and the general opposition of, well, nearly everyone.

Some are also wondering why the government couldn't just take the money that would be required to expand and bring jets to the airport and use it to improve Pearson instead, or invest in infrastructure like high speed rail.

As one person wrote, "You can't staff Pearson but you believe expanding another airport that is downtown will turn out fine? Thank god for gatekeepers that think long term and not just short term!"

Clearly, the proposal isn't one that is going over well even as a distant suggestion unlikely to come to fruition at this point. 

Lead photo by

@TorontoPearson


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