Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Toronto City Centre Airport
Toronto City Center Airport.jpg
Toronto Billy Bishop Airport
WMO: 71265
Airport type Public
Operator Toronto Port Authority
Serves Toronto, Ontario
Location Toronto Islands
Hub for Porter Airlines, Air Canada Express
Elevation AMSL 252 ft / 77 m
Coordinates 43°37′39″N 079°23′46″W / 43.6275°N 79.39611°W / 43.6275; -79.39611Coordinates: 43°37′39″N 079°23′46″W / 43.6275°N 79.39611°W / 43.6275; -79.39611
CYTZ is located in Toronto
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 2,933 894 Asphalt
08/26 3,988 1,216 Asphalt
15/33 2,979 908 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft movements 113,685
Passenger Traffic 1,130,625
Sources: Canada Flight Supplement[1]
Environment Canada[2]
Movements from Statistics Canada[3]
Passenger traffic from Airports Council International[4]

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (IATA: YTZICAO: CYTZ), commonly known as the Toronto Island Airport is an airport located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is named after Air Marshal Billy Bishop, a Canadian First World War flying ace. As of 2010, it was Canada's 14th busiest airport and Ontario's 3rd busiest airport by passengers and the 17th busiest Canadian airport in terms of aircraft movements.[4][3] The airport is used by civil aviation, air ambulances, and regional airlines using turboprop planes.

Opened in 1939, it has been operated since 2000 by the Toronto Port Authority (TPA). Since 2000, the airport has been a centre of controversy between community groups and Toronto politicians wishing to close the airport and the TPA and its primary tenant, Porter Airlines, who have expanded its usage.

The airport is built on lands created by dredging of the lake bottom for sand. The site is attached to the Toronto Islands, a former peninsula jutting out in Lake Ontario, south of central Toronto. The adjacent area was used previously for park lands, hotels and cottages, as an amusement park and it was the site of Toronto's first professional baseball stadium, Hanlan's Point Stadium, later known as Maple Leaf Park. The stadium was the site of Babe Ruth's first professional home run, commemorated by a plaque near the Hanlan's Point docks on the island. The adjacent area was cleared of buildings during the construction of the airport. Hanlan's Point marked the northern extent of the islands prior to the building of the airport.


The airport and the islands in 1944.


The era of the Norwegian Air Force at the airport

The first proposal to build an airport was made in June 1929 by the Toronto Harbour Commission. The Commission proposed a four-stage plan, starting with an "air harbour" for seaplanes, while the final stages proposed filling the then-regatta course lagoon between the sandbar and Hanlan's Point.[5] Toronto City Council at that time agreed to the "air harbour" but "in no way-either by implication or suggestion- implies approval of the ultimate development of a combined air harbour [sic] and airport."[6] In 1935, in a different environment, City Council received approval from the federal government of R. B. Bennett to spend $1 million on a tunnel across the Gap and construction began, with the idea that the tunnel would make the airport feasible.[7] Council itself approved the tunnel and airport projects on August 8, 1935 by a vote of 15–7, against the opposition of Toronto mayor Sam McBride.[8] That fall, after construction began, a federal election was held and William Lyon Mackenzie King was elected. King's government reversed the previous government's decision, cancelling the tunnel project.[8]In 1936, mayor McBride died and the largest opponent to the airport was gone. Trans-Canada Airlines was expected to begin operations in 1937, so in November 1936, City Council formed an "Advisory Airport Committee" to advise on where to build a municipal airport.[9] On July 19, 1937, after two days of debate, City Council voted 14–7 to approve the island airport project. The project demolished the baseball stadium, fifty-four cottages, amusement park attractions and the regatta course.[10] The remaining cottages and cottagers were moved to today's Algonquin Island (then named Sunfish Island).[10] Construction started in October 1938, using dredges to suck approximately 1,300,000 cu yd (990,000 m3) from Toronto Harbour to provide the land needed for two 3,000 ft (910 m) runways.[11] In parallel, the THC built Malton Airport to the north-west of the city on farmland, opened in 1939. After a hugely popular visit by King George VI in May 1939, the airport was named Port George VI Island Airport.[12] The original 1939 wooden frame terminal building is still present and in use although not as a commercial passenger terminal. It is a designated historical site. The only major change to the structure was a change to sloping glass in the control tower to facilitate night operations, made during the early 1950s. Instead of the tunnel, ferry service was inaugurated, which has operated ever since, across the narrow "Western Gap" channel. The first ferry service was a "cable ferry", which operated until December 31, 1963. The ferry, which was rated to carry 48 persons, was attached by two cables, one to either dock. One cable was reeled in, while the other was let out. The cable was dropped to the bottom to let shipping pass. When high waves occurred from storms or wind, the ferry went out of service. Attached by a rope, the ferry was allowed to drift out into the channel to avoid battering itself against the dock. The boat was 'marooned' for two days when the Hurricane Hazel storm arrived in 1954. The cable ferry was replaced by the Harbour Commission tugboat "Thomas Langdon."[13]

World War II

Historic air terminal

During World War II, the airport was used by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNAF) for training. In 1943, because of the noise of their training flights, the Norwegians moved their facility out of the city. The airport was turned over to the Royal Canadian Air Force for the duration of the war. Barracks were built at the foot of Bathurst Street, which became emergency housing after the war, and were eventually demolished in 1957.[14] The nearby 'Little Norway Park' is named in remembrance of the Norwegian community around the airport.


During the 1950s and 1960s the seaplane base was busy with private flights to Muskoka and Haliburton.[15] Air traffic control was instituted in 1953. In 1957, Malton Airport was turned over to the Government of Canada in exchange for improvements at the island airport, including a lengthened runway and improved facilities. The 4,000 ft (1,219 m) main runway was opened in 1961. In 1962, the land was leased to the THC for 21 years, and the THC assumed financial responsibility for the airport. The THC now operated the airport as principals, not as agents for the City.[16] In 1964, the THC replaced the cable ferry with the Maple City ferry.


The old Maple City ferry, which operated for over 40 years.

In 1974, the operational deficits of the airport led the Government of Canada to grant an annual subsidy to the Harbour Commission. The Province of Ontario agreed to pay for the costs of the airport ferry.[16] The Government of Canada put a condition on the subsidy, that intergovernmental agreement needed to be reached on the future of the airport. While the Metro Toronto, Ontario and Canadian levels of government proposed to add STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing)-based airlines to the facility, this was opposed by the City of Toronto. In 1981, City Council agreed to a limited level of commercial STOL passenger service. It signed a memorandum of understanding between the THC, the City and Transport Canada, and in 1982, the Canadian Transport Commission issued a licence to City Centre Airways to operate de Havilland Dash 7 planes between the island, Ottawa and Montreal.[17] In 1983, the City of Toronto, the THC, and the Government of Canada signed a Tripartite Agreement over operation of the airport. The Agreement, in force until 2033, leases the land for the airport at a rate of $1 per year. The majority of the airport land is owned by the province of Ontario with two small sections owned by the Government of Canada and a small section owned by the city. The agreement made provisions for a restricted list of aircraft allowed to use the airport due to noise levels, prohibitions on jet traffic except for MEDEVAC flights and prohibition against the construction of a fixed link between Toronto Island and the mainland. According to the Tassé report: "The Tripartite Agreement does not directly set a maximum number of flights or passengers at the Island Airport; it does, however, establish noise exposure parameters which are not to be exceeded (NEF 25), thus effectively providing restrictions on the number of flights."[18] The number and type of flights are to stay within the Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) 25 exposure level to neighbours. The agreement was amended in 1985 to specifically allow the new de Havilland Dash 8, small 37–39 seat planes at the time, which are not considered STOL planes.[18]From 1984 until 1991, the City Express regional airline operated at the airport, peaking at 400,000 passengers annually in the mid 1980s.[19] In 1990, Air Ontario (later to become Air Canada Jazz) started operating regional airline service to Ottawa and Montreal. In 1994, the Harbour Commission renamed the airport 'Toronto City Centre Airport.' In 1998, U.S. Airways Express started a short-lived service to Syracuse, New York and White Plains, New York.


David Hornell ferry at the terminal

In 1999, the operation of the airport was turned over to the new Toronto Port Authority, which took over the responsibilities of the Harbour Commission, including the airport and port functions.[20] Unlike the previous Harbour Commission, the Port Authority has a different management structure and a different management focus. Its new board of directors contained less Toronto-appointed members. The Authority was also expected to manage the port more like a business.

By 2005, the airport recorded about 68,000 flights,[21] down from a historic high of 240,000 in 1967.[22] The only carrier operating at the airport was Air Canada affiliate Air Canada Jazz (Jazz), operating flights between Toronto and Ottawa. In 2006, Jazz lost access to terminal space at the airport and was forced out of the airport. Jazz had been leasing terminal space month-to-month from City Centre Aviation Limited (CCAL), a private company that was taken over by REGCO Holdings (owners of Porter Airlines) in 2005. On January 31, 2006, CCAL issued Jazz with a 30-day termination notice.[23] Two days later, on February 2, the new Porter Airlines venture was announced.[24] Jazz contacted the TPA on February 3 to find other space. However the TPA did not have any space for Jazz to use[25] and on February 15, 2006, Jazz announced a 'temporary' suspension of flights for the month of March.[23] This subsequently became permanent.

Porter renovated the terminal with upgraded lounges, new food services and electronic check-in terminals. Porter began regional airline service with flights to Ottawa in the fall of 2006 using Q400 series Dash 8 planes, 70-seat aircraft. Its entry into service was met by protesters who attempted to block passengers from the airport. Porter has since expanded to other destinations in Canada and the United States. The airport handled over 93,000 takeoffs and landings in 2008.[3] To support Porter, the TPA launched the David Hornell ferry in 2006, which carries 150 passengers on its upper deck and 20 vehicles below. The Hornell replaced an older ferry, Maple City, which dated from 1964, which became the back-up. The Hornell is named after David Ernest Hornell, a Victoria Cross recipient.[26]

In January 2009, it was announced that the TPA would purchase a second, larger ferry to support Porter's activities. The ferry is to be financed out of the airport's improvement fee charged to passengers.[27] The ferry had been proposed by Porter CEO Robert Deluce to the TPA's Board of Directors over the period of March–June 2008.[28] The decision to approve the $5 million ferry precipitated a conflict-of-interest investigation of TPA director Colin Watson, who is a self-described friend of Deluce's, and who voted in a 5-4 decision to approve the ferry.[29] Watson was cleared of the charge by the federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson in June 2009.[30] The new ferry, named the "Marilyn Bell I" after a naming contest, went into service on January 22, 2010.

At its annual meeting on September 3, 2009, the TPA announced that it would rename the airport after William Avery "Billy" Bishop, a Canadian First World War flying ace. The name would become the "Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport". The proposal drew criticism from TPA critics such as Adam Vaughan, charging "the port authority is putting together a "feel-good story" to prevent people from asking tough questions about how the island airport is governed."[31] On November 10, 2009, after approval from Transport Canada, the TPA officially renamed the airport to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.[32] It is the second airport in Canada, after Owen Sound Billy Bishop Regional Airport, to be named for Bishop.[33] The airport continued to be listed in aeronautical publications and weather reports as Toronto City Centre Airport, until February 11, 2010.[1][32]

In the September 17, 2009 La Presse newspaper, Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu was quoted as saying that the term of exclusivity for Porter at the airport ends in 2010 and that Air Canada is considering a return to the airport in 2010, if acceptable terms can be arranged.[34][35] Later in September, Jazz chief executive officer Joseph Randell reiterated the comments stating that they intended to restore service as early as April 2010.[36]


The Marilyn Bell I ferry. It can hold up to 200 passengers on the upper deck

In January 2010, the TPA announced that it would spend $8 million CAD on upgrades to the airport. The upgrades include a new $2.3 million CAD Equipment Maintenance Building, apron paving, equipment upgrades and a noise barrier to deflect plane maintenance noise out over the lake. The expense would be recouped from the Airport Improvement Fee charged to passengers.[37] In February 2010, Air Canada filed suit against the TPA to get access to the airport, access it had lost when Porter had evicted Jazz in 2006. On March 29, 2010, the Federal Court ruled that Air Canada would have a hearing in July 2010 of its objections to the TPA process.[38] On March 7, 2010, the first half of the Porter's new terminal opened.[39] The new terminal, estimated to cost $50 million CAD, is expected to be completed in early 2011.[40] The opening of the new terminal was met by new protests by Community Air activists protesting the proposed increase in flights.[41]

In 2011, Air Canada began flying again out of the island airport. In July 2011, an agreement was reached between the City and the Port Authority to enable construction of a pedestrian tunnel connecting the airport. Included in the agreement was the proviso that the historic Terminal building would be dissembled and moved from the airport to an undetermined location, to be turned over to a third party, at Port Authority expense.[42] As of July 2011, the Port Authority plans to move the terminal building from the airport. The Port Authority wishes to transfer it to a third party for some operation fitting its heritage status.[42]


The airport is located on the Toronto Islands, at the foot of Bathurst Street, south-west of Downtown Toronto. The airport has one main east-west runway, two shorter runways, and a seaplane base, Toronto City Centre Water Aerodrome. The airport is used for regional airline service and for general aviation, including medical emergency flights (due to its proximity to downtown hospitals), small charter flights, and private aviation. Under its operating agreement, jet aircraft are banned from the airport, with the exception of MEDEVAC flights.

The airport is operated by the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), a Federal public authority. The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency.[43] The airport's hours of operation are 6:45 am to 10:45 pm, except for MEDEVAC flights.[43] The airport's hours are governed by the 2003 update of the tripartite operating agreement which set the hours of operation.[44] Airfield crash fire rescue and EMS are provided by the TCCA Emergency Response Service, backed up by Toronto Fire Services and Toronto EMS. As of 2010 it was Canada's 14th busiest airport and Ontario's third busiest airport by passengers with 1,130,625 and the 17th busiest Canadian airport in terms of aircraft movements with 113,685.[4][3] Passenger traffic increased 46% from 2009 to 2010.[4]

Public access

The only public access to the airport from the mainland is by the Toronto Island Ferry. At only 122 m (400 ft) in distance, the route may be one of the world's shortest regularly scheduled ferry routes. The ferry, which transports vehicles and passengers, operates from the foot of Bathurst Street to the airport dock every 15 minutes from 5:15 am to midnight (the 5:15 ferry is for airport staff, airline passengers can begin crossing at 5:30).[45] The TPA operates the 200-passenger ferry Marilyn Bell I and the 150-passenger David Hornell.

There is a taxi stand and a small parking lot at the ferry dock. The 509 Harbourfront streetcar line serves the intersection of Bathurst Street and Queens Quay, one block north of the ferry dock, connecting the airport to Union Station. Both Porter Airlines and Air Canada offer free return bus shuttle service between the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and the airport ferry dock.[46][47]

Tenants and terminals

There are 2 terminals and several hangars:

  • Terminal A
  • Porter Airlines Passenger Terminal
  • Hangar 4A - Ornge and Canadian Helicopters
  • Porter FBO Hangars 5 a& 6 - home to Porter Airlines & Airborne Sensing Corp
  • Trans Capital FBO operates a small hangar facility at the northeast end of the airport

Tenants include:[48]

  • The Airborne Sensing Corporation
  • Cameron Air Service
  • Canadian Flyers International, flight school and charters
  • Ornge Transport Medicine (Ontario Air Ambulance/MOHLTC)
  • CHC Helicopter
  • Island Air Flight School & Charters (Hangar 4)
  • Air Canada Express
  • Porter Airlines
  • Trans Capital Air - air charters and FBO operations.
  • (Others listed at the Toronto Port Authority web site)

Fire and rescue

The airport operates its own fire and rescue service:

  • Oshkosh Striker 1500 Airport crash tender - delivered 2009
    • AMERTEK RIV (Rescue Intervention Vehicle) - leased from Sudbury Airport from November 2008 to March 2009[49]
  • Waltek C5500-P

Airlines and destinations

A ferry transporting passengers.

The TPA imposes a $20 per flight Airport Improvement Fee surcharge on departing passengers of scheduled flights.[50]

Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Express operated by Sky Regional Airlines Montréal-Trudeau[51]
Porter Airlines Boston, Chicago-Midway, Halifax, Moncton, Montréal-Trudeau, Mont Tremblant, Newark, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John's, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins [begins January 16, 2012], Thunder Bay, Windsor
Seasonal: Burlington (VT) [begins December 15][52], Myrtle Beach

Controversies surrounding the Island Airport

Dispute over payments in lieu of taxes to the City of Toronto

Federal agencies such as the TPA never pay property taxes per se, but instead some negotiated amount to account for municipal services. For the period from 1999 until 2008, the TPA did not make payments in lieu of property tax to the City of Toronto on the Island Airport in a dispute over the amount of the payment. By 2009, the City estimated that the TPA owed $37 million in unpaid payments in lieu of property tax (PILT). The PILT payments were based on the assessed value as calculated by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which assesses all property for the province of Ontario. The City and the TPA presented their case before a federal dispute resolution process. On January 26, 2009, the Dispute Advisory Panel recommended an amount of $5 million that the TPA must pay. This value was based on similar payments made by other airports, which make the payments based on passenger numbers. Pearson Airport at the time of the ruling paid 94 cents per passenger. The ruling by the Dispute Panel works out to 80 cents per passenger.[53] On February 10, 2009, the City applied for a judicial review to the Federal Court of Canada.[54]

On November 25, 2009, the City and the TPA came to an agreement in principle to settle all outstanding legal issues. Both sides agreed to accept the other's estimate of monies owned. The City will pay $11.4 million owing on payments related to the 2002 property settlement and $380,559 owing on harbour user fees. The TPA will pay the City $6.4 million owed to resolve the dispute over the PILTs. The agreement, which has been ratified by Toronto City Council, was made in conjunction with the transfer of 18 acres (7.3 ha) of land at Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard for a proposed Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) light rail storage facility.[55][56]

Bridge proposal

The future of the Island Airport had been a public issue since 1978, when then-Transport Minister Otto Lang announced a plan to provide daily scheduled airline service between the airport and Ottawa and Montreal, using de Havilland Dash 7 STOL planes.[57] The plan was opposed by then-Mayor John Sewell and Toronto City Council, representing local residents. Local proponents at the time were the Toronto Board of Trade and unionized workers at the de Havilland plant in Downsview. In 1980, the Canadian Transport Commission turned down the plan stating that the airport's services were not satisfactory and required upgrading.[58] Service was eventually established in 1984 after agreements on noise, jet bans and funding were made in 1983 between the City and Transport Canada. With the ending of direct federal subsidies of the airport in the early 1990s, the Toronto Harbour Commission and its successor the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) became dependent on subsidies from the City of Toronto.[59]

Since 1935, there have been repeated plans to construct either tunnels or a bridge to the airport. The airport continued to require public subsidies and various expansion plans, including jets and airport enlargement were seen as a way to increase its usage and make the airport self-sufficient. Meanwhile during this time, the downtown area surrounding the airport was redeveloped. Whereas it was once port lands and industrial buildings, the area changed with the coming of Harbourfront Centre, which sparked condominium tower development along the waterfront near the airport and increasing the number of residents in the area.

Opposition to the airport was formalized into the Community AIR (Airport Impact Review) volunteer association in 2001, headed by the late activist and former councillor Allan Sparrow. It was formed by local residents to oppose expansion on the grounds of increased air and noise pollution, safety concerns and that the increase in air traffic will hamper recent government initiatives to rejuvenate the Toronto waterfront.[60] In July 2001, at a news conference held with representatives of the Sierra Club, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the group proposed converting the 200 acres (81 ha) airport to parkland.[61] Community Air was and is supported by the City councillors of the area.

View from the southwest

After the formation of the TPA in 1999, one of its first tasks was a review of the Airport operations by an outside consultant firm, Sypher-Mueller. In its December 2001 report, the consultant concluded that the airport "is not sustainable and will likely lead to continued financial losses."[62] Passenger volumes had declined to 140,000 annually from a peak of 400,000 in 1987. The consultants concluded that if services were upgraded to include small jets, that possibly 900,000 passengers could be carried by 2020. The report proposed a $16 million bridge and $2 million in runway upgrades.[62]

It emerged during 2002, that Robert Deluce, former executive with Canada 3000, proposed to fly regional turboprop planes from the island airport. Deluce's proposal was initially conditional on the construction of a fixed link to the airport. In 2002, the TPA made plans to link the island to the mainland by a new bridge to serve expanded services.

At the same time, the TPA was pursuing a $1 billion law-suit against the City of Toronto over some 600 acres (240 ha) of port-lands it claimed were transferred improperly to the Toronto Economic Development Corporation by the TPA's predecessor, the Toronto Harbour Commission (THC), in the early 1990s during the mayorship of June Rowlands[63] The port-lands had been transferred under the direction of THC directors appointed by the City in exchange for a permanent subsidy of the THC under agreements made in 1991 and 1994.[64] The lands had been earmarked for waterfront revitalization by the City after the Crombie Commission. The lawsuit would emerge as a factor in the TPA's plans for expansion of the airport, and City Council support for the TPA's plans for a new bridge became conditional upon the lawsuit being dropped.

The proposal to link the airport with a bridge had been previously approved by Toronto City Council in 1995 and 1998, with the proviso that a business plan would be presented for approval by the THC and later the TPA for operating the airport. In November 2002, City Council met to debate the competing proposals, that of closing the airport in favour of some parkland, or of approving the TPA's plans and having uncontested title to the port lands. Despite pleas from former mayor David Crombie, urban planner/activist Jane Jacobs and Harbourfront residents, the TPA plan was supported by then-mayor Mel Lastman, who argued that the estimated $190 million of annual economic benefit the airport would create, was too good to pass up.[65] On November 28, 2002, Council in a day-long debate, made two votes to settle the issue. First, Council voted 32–9 to accept a settlement to end the TPA port-lands lawsuit in exchange for an immediate payment of $5.5 million and an annual subsidy of $5.5 million to the TPA until 2012.[65] Council then voted 29–11 to approve the amendment of the tripartite agreement to permit a fixed link and the construction of a lift bridge.[66]

The next year, a municipal election year, saw public opinion change to oppose the bridge.[67] In October 2003, a Toronto Star poll listed 53% of residents city-wide opposed the airport bridge, while 36% supported it.[68] Bridge supporter Mel Lastman was retiring. Councillor David Miller ran for Mayor on a platform to stop the building of the bridge, a position supported by Community Air and other local community groups. Other mayoral candidates Barbara Hall and John Tory supported the bridge. Although the bridge was an election issue, and the bridge project still required two federal approvals, the TPA continued developing the project, progressing to the point that contracts were signed with major participants (including companies operating from the airport).[69]

In November 2003, Mr. Miller was elected Mayor of Toronto with 44% of the vote.[70] While construction workers prepared the construction site, Miller immediately started the process to cancel the bridge project, sparking threats of another lawsuit from the TPA.[71] The incoming City Council voted 26–18 in December 2003 to withdraw its support of the bridge project[72] and federal Transport Minister David Collenette announced that the federal government would accept the Council's position on the bridge and withdraw its support.[73]

In January 2004, the federal government would put approval of the project on hold, preventing its construction.[74] Immediately, Deluce would file a $505 million lawsuit against the City of Toronto, claiming that Miller "abused his powers", by threatening councillors, had Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Hydro "interfere with the construction of a fixed link" and lobbying the federal government to "withhold certain permits."[74] The federal government later transferred $35 million to the TPA in May 2005 to settle claims arising from the cancellation from Deluce, Aecon Construction and Stolport Corp.[75] Compensation terms were not disclosed.[75] TPA CEO (Lisa Raitt) commented "You will never hear about the bridge again." and "We have been working very hard since December of 2003 to deal with the request of the City of Toronto not to build a bridge, and we are very happy that the matter has been dealt with."[76] New federal regulations were introduced to ban any future plans to build a fixed link to the airport.[76] The monies from the federal settlement were used by the TPA to purchase a new, larger passenger ferry and by Deluce to renovate the airport terminal.

Late-night landings

At the 2009 TPA annual meeting, concerns were raised about landings at the airport after the 11 pm closing time. Local residents had two concerns: the late-night noise and safety. Control tower staff are not present at Bishop after 11 pm (a practice that is very common at most Canadian airports). In one specific incident in September 2008, a late Porter flight was advised by air traffic controllers to divert to Pearson, but instead landed at Bishop. For the landing, Porter was fined an undisclosed amount by the TPA. Under the airport's curfew agreement, each commercial landing outside the airport's curfew may be subject to a fine of $5,000.[77]

Increase in number of flights

On October 19, 2009, the TPA published a press release indicating that other carriers were interested in using the airport and that it was accepting expressions of interest. The TPA noted that any increase in commercial traffic would be within the 1983 tripartite agreement governing usage and noise limits.[78] In December 2009, the TPA announced that it would allow up between 42 and 92 daily landings and takeoffs at the airport, beyond the current 120 per day 'slots' allotted. The slots would be allocated by an International Air Transport Association (IATA)-accredited slot coordinator. These slots would become available after Porter's new terminal building was complete.[79]

In 2009, the Toronto Medical Officer of Health started studying the effects of the pollution from Toronto's airports.[80] The TPA initiated a study by the Jacobs Consultancy to examine the air pollution from the airport, as part of an environmental review of the airport's activities.[81] In January 2010, the Toronto Board of Health started holding hearings into the health effects of the island airport, including the proposed increased traffic.[82]

In March 2010, the opening of Porter's new terminal was met by new protests by Community Air activists protesting the increase in flights. The number of slots is contested by Community Air, which asserts that this contravenes maximums previously calculated:[41]

  • 97 by Transport Canada, in May 1998,
  • 122 by the Sypher Mueller report to the TPA in 2001,
  • 120 by the City of Toronto and the Tassé report, and
  • 167 per airport consultant Pryde Schropp McComb in a 2005 study for Porter Airlines.

Air Canada pursued a judicial review of TPA's plans to open the airport to other airlines. The action was heard in Federal Court in July 2010, and the Court dismissed Air Canada's claims against the TPA's decisions of December 2009 and April 2010 with respect to the airport slot allocations.[83] Continental Airlines had also been reported as having interest in setting up Canada-U.S. flights from the airport.[40] In June 2010, Air Canada and Continental Airlines received initial approval to fly into and out of the airport.[84] Continental was allocated 16 slots, Air Canada 30 and Porter an additional 44 slots.[85] In October 2010, Air Canada and the TPA concluded an operating agreement, and Air Canada was to begin operating flights starting in February 2011.[86] Air Canada began flying out of the airport on May 1, 2011.[51] However, United Continental Holdings, (the merged Continental Airlines and United Airlines) decided not to fly out of the airport.[85]

Pedestrian tunnel

In 2009, the TPA proposed to build a $38 million pedestrian tunnel to the airport from the foot of Bathurst Street. The TPA proposed that the project be paid for in the majority from federal and provincial economic stimulus funds. Critics such as Olivia Chow and Adam Vaughan criticized the proposal as a benefit to a small number of privileged users and a subsidy to Porter Airlines' business. The project was not included on a City-approved list of projects submitted to the federal government.[87] On October 6, 2009, the TPA, having not yet received approval for the tunnel project, announced that it was now too late to proceed to meet the March 2011 completion date deadline condition for the project to receive federal infrastructure stimulus funds.[88]

In January 2010, the TPA announced that it was seeking a private-sector partner to build the pedestrian tunnel. The cost was now estimated to cost $45 million CAD. The cost would be financed by a $5/flight increase in the Airport Fee paid by passengers.[89] On July 12, 2010, the TPA announced that it intends to begin construction of the tunnel as early as 2011, after TPA conducts an environmental assessment.[90] The tunnel will not be built on or over City of Toronto land, meaning that City approval is not required.[91] The TPA also announced that an opinion poll conducted on behalf of the TPA suggested that "a majority (56%) of Torontonians support a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport."[92]

The TPA concluded its environmental assessment of the project in April 2011. The TPA then short-listed three companies to respond to a request for proposals to build the tunnel. The RFP ends in October 2011.[93] In July 2011, an agreement was reached with the City of Toronto, exchanging lands with the Port Authority, enabling the Port Authority to proceed on the pedestrian tunnel. The agreement allows the Port Authority to expand their taxi and parking space for the airport. The City of Toronto will have a water main to serve the Islands included as part of the project.[42]

See also


  1. ^ a b Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 20 October 2011 to 0901Z 15 December 2011
  2. ^ "Synoptic/Metstat Station Information". Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers". Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "North American Airports Traffic" (application/xls). Airports Council International. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ Gibson 1984, p. 177.
  6. ^ Toronto City Council minutes of June 19, 1929, as quoted in Gibson, p. 177
  7. ^ Gibson 1984, p. 192.
  8. ^ a b Gibson 1984, p. 193.
  9. ^ Gibson 1984, p. 195.
  10. ^ a b Gibson 1984, p. 197.
  11. ^ Gibson 1984, p. 198.
  12. ^ Gibson 1984, p. 202.
  13. ^ "Island Cable Ferry Sets Last Course for Limbo". The Globe and Mail: p. 5. December 31, 1963. 
  14. ^ "Changing Civic Scene Surveyed by Camera". The Globe and Mail: p. 25. February 7, 1957. 
  15. ^ Bound, Robert. "Ground Control" (pdf). Re:Porter (Fall/Winter 2006): 22–23. 
  16. ^ a b Tassé 2006, p. 10.
  17. ^ Tassé 2006, p. 11.
  18. ^ a b Tassé 2006, p. 12.
  19. ^ Harding, Katherine (July 26, 2001). "Group urges turning airport to park". Toronto Star: p. B07. 
  20. ^ "Toronto City Centre Airport: A History". Toronto Port Authority. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Total aircraft movements by class of operation — NAV CANADA towers". March 12, 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Toronto City Centre Airport Facts". Toronto Port Authority. Retrieved November 11, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b "Air Canada suspends its Jazz flights out of island airport for the month of March". National Post: p. 11. February 16, 2006. 
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