Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Announces AIF Increase

Toronto (January 28, 2021) – With the temporary suspension of all air carrier service that came into effect in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has faced a significant and material decline in revenue. Despite efforts to cut costs – which have included a 40 per cent reduction in staff and the cancellation of all non-essential operating and capital projects – PortsToronto, the owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport, today confirmed that it will increase the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) from $15 to $29, effective February 1, 2021. 
“Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Billy Bishop Airport offered one of the lowest AIF programs in Canada,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice President, PortsToronto and Billy Bishop Airport. “When the pandemic spread to Canada, and our air carriers made the prudent decision to temporarily suspend all commercial service, our first course of action was to reduce costs wherever possible, including reducing our staff complement by almost 40 per cent. Sadly, after 10 months of no commercial service, and limited relief from government, we must now take the additional step of increasing our AIF, which we did in consultation with our airlines, in an effort to position our airport for what is believed to be a protracted recovery once restrictions are lifted, the carriers restart, and Canadians return to air travel.”
In a complementary effort to support the airport’s recovery and encourage a return to travel once government, border closures and emergency order restrictions are lifted, Billy Bishop Airport has implemented its Safe Travels Program, a comprehensive initiative developed in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic that includes operational measures and safety protocols that have been implemented to ensure a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and partners at Billy Bishop Airport once commercial service resumes.
Since April 2020, passenger air traffic in Canada has dropped by 90 per cent. Canadian airports expect to incur more than $4.5 billion in lost revenue and debt levels will increase by $2.8 billion by the end of 2021*. Current indications are that it will take at least five years for the industry to recover to 2019 levels once travel restrictions are removed and non-essential air travel resumes. The increase in the AIF at Billy Bishop Airport, and other airports in Canada, is just one measure being implemented in the absence of federal government funding to provide for a recovery of the aviation industry in Canada.
* Canadian Airport Council presentation to the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities.  December 3, 2020.
About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards. Commercial service at the airport was temporarily suspended in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
Media Contacts:
Deborah Wilson
Vice President Communications and Public Affairs
PortsToronto / Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport