Toronto (December 19, 2013) – The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) advised today that it had received the most recent media reports, repeating earlier statements by WestJet Airlines regarding Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).
“We are delighted WestJet is interested in offering service from the popular Billy Bishop Airport, but find their approach through the media curious. When WestJet had the opportunity to secure BBTCA slots in 2009, they declined, even though the airline now uses Q400 aircraft which comply with our airport’s strict noise restrictions,” advised Geoff Wilson, President and CEO of the TPA. “Although the TPA continues to hear rumours about WestJet’s alleged interest in utilizing Billy Bishop at some point in the future, they’ve never actually contacted the airport’s operator – the TPA. Air Canada, Continental Airlines and Porter Airlines all participated in our 2009 slot allocation process, and each airline received a slot award in June 2010.” Coincident with its announced merger agreement with United Airlines, Continental Airlines, subsequently declined to accept its BBTCA slot award. At the present time, all 202 commercial BBTCA slots have been allocated via the TPA’s UK-based independent slot allocation coordinator. As per the TPA presentation to the Toronto Region Board of Trade in October 2013, the TPA does not anticipate any new commercial slots becoming available over the next few years.
“As with airports in New York, New Jersey and Washington, Billy Bishop is a slot controlled operation. In our case, no new commercial slots are currently available. This will not change next year, should Toronto City Council remove the current ban on commercial jets at Billy Bishop,” continued Mark McQueen, Chairman of the TPA. “There’s no room at the Inn.”
In addition to assessing any eventual formal WestJet request for slots at the airport, the TPA would also assess the suitability of its new 737 aircraft, which are scheduled to begin service in 2017. “All aircraft operating from Billy Bishop need to meet the strict noise output guidelines of the 1983 Tripartite Agreement, whether or not City Council approves jets down the road”, advised Wilson. “According to the expert consultants working for the City of Toronto, the Bombardier CS-100 is expected to comply with the existing strict ICAO noise ceiling in place at the BBTCA. It will be some years before it becomes clear if WestJet’s new 737 aircraft will also comply. In the meantime, WestJet’s lack of landing slots, with none on the horizon, makes this matter academic.”
About the Toronto Port Authority (www.torontoport.com)
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Port of Toronto (Terminals 51 and 52), and Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina. In addition to moving more than two million passengers through the airport in 2012, the Port Authority provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port, and owns and operates Toronto’s largest freshwater marina. The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999 as a government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners.
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