NEWS

Island airport expansion verdict postponed

11/28/2013 12:57 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 05:59 EST
Porter Airlines will have to wait a little longer to find out whether it will be allowed to fly jets on an extended runway out of Toronto’s downtown island airport.

A report by city staff released today says Porter’s request 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 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. 

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