Toronto island airport decision should wait, city council told
More study needed on Porter's proposed jets, city staff says
City councillors are being urged to wait until 2015 to consider a proposal to expand Toronto's island airport, as staff believe they don’t have enough information to make a decision now.
A report by city staff released today says a request by Porter Airlines to expand its operations at Billy Bishop airport will require more time to assess, among other factors, how noise from the jets will affect the city’s waterfront area.
A more definite answer is not expected until 2015, after the next municipal election.
The report, which goes to executive committee next week, says "outstanding questions" remain in Porter’s plan.
The regional airline wants to extend both ends of the main runway at Billy Bishop — from 168 to 200 metres — to accommodate a new fleet of Bombardier CS-100 jets, moving into more direct competition with national airlines Air Canada and WestJet.
Flying jets out of the island airport would also require changes to the agreement between the city, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority. Porter currently flies Q400 turboprops.
The proposal got a conditional nod of approval earlier this year from Mayor Rob Ford, provided the jets weren’t too loud, but has been slammed by others, including former mayor David Miller, out of concern for its effect on the waterfront.
The airport has grown since Porter launched in 2006, when it served just 26,000 people. By 2012 that number had ballooned to 2.3 million. Billy Bishop is now the ninth busiest airport in the country.