Making Access to Billy Bishop Airport Electric

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) is Canada’s ninth-busiest airport, and fifth-busiest offering service to the United States. PortsToronto owns and operates YTZ, while Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners owns and operates the airport’s passenger terminal. Located a short walk from downtown, YTZ represents a unique offering for residents and visitors to Canada’s largest city, making it easier for business and leisure travelers to access the vibrant heart of Toronto. 

While many walk or bike to the airport using the 185-metre long pedestrian tunnel (named the 2014 Canadian Project of the Year by the Tunnel Association of Canada), 25% of those accessing YTZ use Nieuport Aviation’s free shuttle bus service, and PortsToronto’s ferry operation transports passengers, airport staff and essential supplies to and from Billy Bishop Airport, including emergency vehicles supporting Ornge medevac operations. With a shared objective of operating a cleaner, greener and quieter airport, PortsToronto and Nieuport Aviation have collaborated to make access to the airport electric.
In late 2021, PortsToronto’s Marilyn Bell became the first electric ferry service in Canada to be powered by a zero-emission, lithium-ion power and propulsion system containing no diesel components. Earlier this year, Nieuport Aviation, along with shuttlebus service provider TOK Group, announced an order for six Vicinity Lightning electric buses. These buses will replace the current diesel-powered shuttle bus fleet connecting passengers between YTZ and Union Station.
In addition to cutting CO2 emissions associated with the ferry and shuttles to zero, both initiatives help to reduce operational noise in the community, building on the airport’s award-winning Noise Management Program.
With the forthcoming introduction of Nieuport Aviation’s electric shuttle buses, YTZ will have effectively “greened” every form of airport access under its purview and reduced noise in the process, underscoring PortsToronto and Nieuport Aviation’s priority of operating a cleaner, greener and quieter airport.
Fast Facts
  • The electrification of the Marilyn Bell reduces the airport’s direct emissions by approximately 530 tonnes per year.
  • When operational, Billy Bishop Airport’s new electric shuttle buses are expected to cleanly and quietly transport over 500,000 passengers to and from the airport per year.
  • Billy Bishop Airport’s partnership with Bullfrog Power has kept Scope 2 emissions at zero for more than a decade.
  • Estimates indicate that Billy Bishop Airport’s fleet of six electric buses will remove approximately 2,100 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
  • Efforts to encourage alternative transportation to and from Billy Bishop Airport have been successful, with 41% of passengers choosing to walk, bike, take the shuttle or public transit from the airport.
  • The reduction in vehicle traffic to the airport has afforded Billy Bishop Airport the opportunity to reduce the footprint of vehicle access areas, including the adjacent Bathurst Quay/Canada Malting Silos site, which is being transformed into a vibrant community space and park located right at the airport’s doorstep.
Through their long-term focus on sustainability, PortsToronto and Nieuport Aviation are modelling sustainable business practices and helping to shape a better, cleaner future for wildlife and the people that live, work and play along Toronto’s shores and beyond.