Air Canada to start Toronto island flights in 2011

Air Canada plans to begin offering flights between the Toronto Island airport and Montreal in February 2011.

Flights to Montreal to be operated by Sky Regional Airlines, starting February 2011

Air Canada announced Monday it plans to begin offering flights between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the Toronto Islands and Montreal Trudeau International Airport in February 2011.

"We are very excited to return to Toronto City Airport in the coming months," said the airline's chief commercial officer, Ben Smith.

Air Canada plans up to 15 daily non-stop flights between Toronto's island airport and Montreal using Dash 8 Q400 turboprops. ((CBC))

"These arrangements mark solid progress as we work to develop a unique product tailored to meet the diverse needs of travellers between Canada's two largest cities."

The move would end the monopoly that Porter Airlines has at the airport.

The carrier said the arrangement with the Toronto Port Authority to operate out of the island still depends on reaching a deal to lease terminal space.

It plans up to 15 daily non-stop flights using Dash 8 Q400 turboprops operated by Sky Regional Airlines.

"The selection of Sky Regional Airlines … has no impact on Air Canada's commercial arrangements with other regional carriers, including Jazz Air, with which Air Canada maintains a strong commercial relationship," the airline said in a news release.

The port authority's plans for adding more flights from the airport has drawn criticism from harbourfront and island residents and from city councillors such as Adam Vaughan, whose constituents stand to be most directly affected by the expansion.

Complaints range from aircraft noise and environmental disruption to a lack of transparency on the part of the port authority, a federal government body run by appointed officials.