Island Airport to grow terminal without community consultation

Brian Iler —

PortsToronto (in the week of Oct. 10, 2016) announced it has approved a massive expansion of the Island Airport passenger terminal, adding some 27,000 square feet of space and an eleventh gate.

This announcement came as a complete surprise to the waterfront community.

A presentation on current Island Airport issues by PortsToronto’s Executive Vice-President Gene Cabral on September 14 to the York Quay Neighbourhood Association made no mention of it.

Secrecy surrounded a bold, unwelcome move

Nor was it mentioned at a recent PortsToronto Community Liaison Committee meeting.

This is clearly intended to facilitate many more passengers, and more flights. That means much more traffic, much more noise, and much more pollution on our waterfront.

Why was there no community consultation whatsoever, nor, apparently, any studies of any kind before this approval was given? The last attempt to expand the Airport’s business was Porter’s jets proposal which required extensive community consultation and a host of consultants’ studies. This is no different.

A glaring omission in this decision to approve the expansion  is the absence of any consideration of how this expansion fits federal government Paris commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius. An investment that facilitates further emissions from aviation is a step in the wrong direction.

PortsToronto’s handling of Porter’s earlier sale of the Terminal has also been criticized: It readily agreed to extend its lease of the Terminal lands for 35 years following the expiry of the Tripartite Agreement on June 30, 2033 without any apparent public benefit in return, and without any public consultation, solely to facilitate Porter’s sale of its terminal for a reported $750M. It would appear that Porter’s best interests, and not the public interest, guided that decision.

PortsToronto’s own Airport Master Plan has identified these significant deficiencies that have yet to be addressed – and should have been, before more investment occurs on Airport infrastructure [our emphasis]:

  • “The provision of public parking is significantly undersized given the level of passenger activity. Industry planning guidelines suggest a provision of approximately 1,000 – 3,000 parking stalls per 1 million enplaned passengers. With approximately 1.5 million passengers, the unrestrained demand for parking at BBTCA would be approximately 750 – 2,000 parking stalls.”
  • “The area of the combined services building allocated for airport maintenance is comprised of four equipment bays and support areas. This facility is not sufficient to accommodate the full needs of the Airport
  • Given the tight physical constraints of the Airport, particularly in the vicinity of the terminal building, there is no opportunity to provide a centralized de-icing facility”
  • “With the rapid increase in air carrier activity over the past two years and the allocation of all of the 202 slots available for scheduled air carriers, it is very likely that BBTCA has reached its theoretical capacity of 140,703 movements. Even with modest (1-2%) growth in the other general aviation sectors, the TPA may have to implement measures next year to manage aviation activities”
  • “At a length of approximately 60m, the drop-off/pick-up curb at the ferry terminus is significantly undersized as compared to airports with comparable passenger activity. As comparison, the following is a list of similar Canadian Airports, including the number of annual passengers and the length of their terminal curbside:

? Kelowna Airport: 1.3 million annual passengers, curb length of 122m,

? Saskatoon Airport: 1.3 million annual passengers, curb length of 150m, and

? Victoria Airport: 1.4 million annual passengers, curb length of 200m. ”

  • “The current capacity of the two taxi queuing lanes is approximately thirty-four vehicles, which during peak periods is at over-capacity. As a result, taxis often stand on the northbound curb lane of Eireann Quay, which presents a significant congestion and safety concern. …As a result, the TPA is left with an overall taxi system that has far more demand than capacity, and is without any realistic short-term and cost-effective mitigating solutions”

Brian Iler is chairman of CommunityAIR

Billy Bishop Airport ranked 4th worldwide by Conde Nast

Condé Nast Traveler announced that Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport) has ranked fourth worldwide in the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, the premier international travel industry awards voted on by more than 300,000 travellers around the world. Ranking only behind Singapore (SIN), Seoul, South Korea (ICN), and Doha, Qatar (DOH), Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ) was the only airport in Canada to be recognized in the category.

“The coveted Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are often referred to as the ‘seal of approval’ from the world’s most discerning travellers,” said Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport. “To be ranked by travellers worldwide as one of the best airports internationally is an exceptional honour and a true validation of the work that we are doing at Billy Bishop Airport to ensure an extraordinary travel experience for all of our passengers. From our excellent customer service, to the award-winning airlines that fly from our airport to more than 20 destinations, to amenities such as the pedestrian tunnel, shuttle service, full-service lounges, proximity to downtown and shorter lines, our airport is recognized as a world-class facility by the 2.5 million passengers who travel through our doors each year and as an important international gateway for the city of Toronto.”

“Billy Bishop Airport plays a significant role in Toronto as a key economic driver, an important piece of transportation infrastructure and a provider of jobs,” said Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto. “Ranked alongside airports in Singapore, Hong Kong and Zurich, Billy Bishop Airport is seen as a world-class facility that fuels businesses, facilitates tourism and offers connectivity to all of those who come, go and stay in the world-class city of Toronto. I offer my congratulations to Billy Bishop Airport on this impressive ranking.”

The Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards is the third international passenger-driven award won by Billy Bishop Airport in 2016. In February 2016, the airport was named one of the top airports in North America in the Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2015 Airport Service Quality Awards and in March 2016 the airport was named one of North America’s best airports by Skytrax World Airport Awards. In 2015 and 2016 the airport was also recognized as one of the Top Ten Most Beautiful Airport Approaches by Private Fly and was a finalist in the 2015 World Business Travel Awards.

Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards Top 10 International Airports
1 Singapore (SIN) Singapore, Singapore
2 Seoul Incheon (ICN) Seoul, South Korea
3 Doha (DOH) Doha, Qatar
4 Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) Toronto, Canada
5 Dubai (DXB) Dubai, UAE
6 Hong Kong (HKG) Hong Kong, China
7 Copenhagen (CPH) Copenhagen, Denmark
8 Tokyo Haneda (HND) Tokyo, Japan
9 Helsinki (HEL) Helsinki, Finland
10 Zurich (ZRH) Zurich, Switzerland

Porter Airlines, which operates out of Billy Bishop Airport, ranked ninth in the category of Best International Airline, the fifth time the airline has won a Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award.

The Readers’ Choice Awards are announced in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler. The full list is published exclusively online at

About the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards
Rated by the world’s most discriminating travellers, the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards represent the most coveted accolades for the travel industry. The survey and awards process is independent and guaranteed free of any airport influence. For more information on the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards please click here.

About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Billy Bishop Airport is Canada’s ninth-busiest airport and welcomes 2.5 million business and leisure travellers each year. The airport is also Canada’s sixth-busiest airport with passenger service into the United States. 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, accounting for more than $2.1 billion in economic output each year and supporting 6,500 jobs, including 1,960 directly associated with the airport operations. The airport has recently won a series of passenger-driven awards, including being named one of the top airports in North America in both the Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2015 Airport Service Quality Awards and Skytrax 2016 World Airport Awards.

About PortsToronto (
For more than 100 years PortsToronto, (formerly the Toronto Port Authority), 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 welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide 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 $8 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.