A decision on Porter Airline Inc.’s bid to expand Toronto’s island airport to allow jets and more flights out of the center of Canada’s largest city has been deferred until next year.
Toronto City Council’s executive committee, which includes Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, voted to defer the decision and consult with the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority on issues including the need for a broader development plan for the airport, Robert Deluce, Porter’s chief executive officer, told reporters after the meeting. The issue will likely be taken up again in the new year, he said.
“From our perspective, it’s great that all three parties will now sit down,” Deluce said today in comments broadcast on CP24 television. “There certainly are solutions to any of the items identified by city staff and they’re not anywhere near as big as would be indicated by the opponents.”
Porter unveiled plans in April to add jets to its fleet based at Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport that would more than double its network to cities as far away as Los Angeles and the Caribbean. Under a three-way accord among the Toronto Port Authority, Canada’s government and the city, jets are banned at Billy Bishop until 2033.
Porter planned to add as many as 30 CSeries Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) jets in an order valued at as much as $2.1 billion, if the expansion was approved.
City staff recommended on Nov. 29 that a vote be delayed to review a runway extension, noise issues and infrastructure required to accommodate the jets. The airport, which has posted an 88-fold jump in traffic since Porter began operating in 2006, is favored by financial professionals for its proximity to downtown and flights to U.S. cities including Chicago, Boston and Newark, New Jersey.
“There is no way to make this situation work,” Councilor Adam Vaughan told reporters at city hall. “The infrastructure is overtaxed, the impact on transit to other parts of the waterfront is significant, and we have to answer those questions. That plane is not taking off, and it’s not landing on our waterfront.”
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