Greater Toronto Airways plans daily flights from Toronto to Niagara region

Greater Toronto Airways announced on Monday it plans to operate daily scheduled flights from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

'We can do the flight in about 12 minutes,' says company CEO Chris Nowrouzi

Passengers board a Greater Toronto Airways plane on Tuesday. The cost of a one-way flight between Toronto and Niagara District Airport will start at $85, and return flights will start at $159. Service will start Sept. 15. (Makda Gherbreslassie/CBC)

Why drive around Lake Ontario when you can fly over it?

Greater Toronto Airways has announced plans to operate daily scheduled flights from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The company, which also flies from Toronto to Collingwood and Muskoka, intends to use eight-seater executive-style planes for the flights.

The flight schedule is geared toward commuters with an 8:30 a.m. departure from Niagara District Airport and a return flight from Toronto at 4:30 p.m. The service is set to begin on Sept. 15.

"We can do the flight in about 12 minutes," says Chris Nowrouzi, CEO of Greater Toronto Airways, a private airline that provides flyers charter and sight-seeing services to locations in Canada and the U.S.

"Our goal is to grow from just connecting Toronto and Niagara Falls, to then Toronto and Collingwood, and Niagara Falls and Collingwood. Muskoka after that. Then we want really to focus on the townships that have to drive through the traffic to get to Niagara district or to downtown Toronto," he said.

"It should be a very interesting process for us as we start up. We look forward to everybody's support. Absolutely, it's really exciting to start this process."

Alan Caslin, chair of the Regional Municipality of Niagara, said the new service will lead to other opportunities.

"Not only does it allow people to commute from Toronto to Niagara, from Niagara to Toronto, but also it offers a connector service. Because now you can get from Niagara to Billy Bishop Airport and on whatever destination you want to go to, whether it be through Pearson Airport or through Union Station or through Billy Bishop Airport with another airline," he said.

"It really opens another litany of opportunities for jobs, for meetings in Toronto and tourism down here in Niagara and for weekend getaways."

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati thinks the new service will spur economic growth in the region and benefit both businesses and tourists.

While it can't replace the daily drive for those who commute, Diodati says flying is an option for some — especially those who need to be in Toronto for an early meeting or those looking to avoid lengthy drives on the QEW during summer weekends.

"This is a great opportunity for those people who don't have the luxury of time and they need to be places," he says.

"What a great way to avoid driving around the lake, when you can fly straight over the lake."

According to the Greater Toronto Airways website, the cost of a one way flight will start at $85, and return flights will start at $159.


  • An earlier version of this story reported that Niagara District Airport is in St. Catharines. In fact, the airport is in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
    Aug 09, 2016 12:21 PM ET


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