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Air Canada opposes Porter's jet plans for Billy Bishop airport

04/02/2015 04:37 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT
In what can be viewed as another blow in a corporate battle over Toronto's downtown airport, Air Canada announced it does not support changes aimed at allowing jets to land at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

The airline says its preferred approach is expanding turboprop operations at the airport, but says no consideration has been given to that idea. Its avowed rival at the airport, Porter Airlines, is seeking changes that would allow it to operate jets at the airport on Toronto's waterfront.

The bitter rivals have jostled over the airport — popular for its convenience but restrictive in terms of what planes can fly in and out — for almost a decade.

Air Canada sued Porter after Jazz, Air Canada's regional partner, was evicted from its Billy Bishop terminal by a company owned by Porter's CEO and president Robert Deluce in 2006.

Porter was the only airline allowed to operate for the airport at the time. Air Canada regained access in 2010.

Porter is currently lobbying Toronto's city council to amend rules to allow jets at Billy Bishop. Among other things, allowing jets to use the airport would require extending the runway at both ends by filling in parts of Lake Ontario.

Opponents have raised concerns about what jets might mean to the marine life and residential noise levels.

"We do not support jets at Billy Bishop — we prefer to see a growing downtown airport focused on short-haul passengers using modern turboprop aircraft, which would be more consistent with the spirit and intent of the original tripartite agreement at Billy Bishop," Air Canada said.

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