TORONTO – Just as the city begins public consultations on whether to expand the runway at Billy Bishop Airport, Porter Airlines is asking the city to make it even longer.
Porter Airlines announced in a press release Tuesday evening that after “further research” it is proposing a second design option for the runway. It includes extending the runway 200 metres on either side – 32 metres further than originally proposed.
The airline announced in April that it wants to expand its service to include flying Bombardier CS100 jets in and out of the downtown airport. That would require amendments to the 1983 Tripartite Agreement between the city of Toronto, federal government and Toronto Port Authority, which currently prohibits landing jets at the airport.
While the original proposal is still being considered, Tuesday’s release suggests a slightly longer runway has “additional benefits” including “additional take-off runway distance” that it claims will make the “whisper” jets quieter because they’ll use less power.
The release also suggests a longer runway will continue to “ensure no effect to the boating community” and will enhance the area’s “safety and navigability for vessels.”
“Our objective has always been to design a runway that does not change the enjoyment of Lake Ontario by Torontonians, including the boating community,” said Porter Airlines CEO Robert Deluce in the press release.
But the head of the lobbyist group NoJetsTO says the plan will “encroach on boaters and lake users while paving even more of Lake Ontario” and suggested the timing of the release was a “slap in the face for concerned Torontonians.”
“Deluce’s push for paving the lake was already bad enough – and now he is going even further with his 400-meter proposal,” Anshul Kapoor, chair of NoJetsTO, said in a statement. “The only guy to profit from filling in Lake Ontario now wants to sacrifice even more of it.”