North America

Porter validates runway concept for Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

Tis Meyer / Planepics.org

Porter Airlines has validated its extended runway proposal as part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing review of the airline’s application to operate Bombardier CS100 aircraft from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA).

Specifically, the proposed extension of 168 metres into the water at each end of the main runway meets the city’s request to not result in “an extension of the Marine Exclusion Zone as currently configured, that would materially encroach upon the western channel shipping channel.”

Over the past several months, Porter has worked closely with stakeholders and our airport consultant, LPS Avia Consulting, to ensure this point. The runway extension requires only an immaterial lateral movement of certain buoys that does not affect boating access along the Western Channel.

“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 Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines.  “The buoy that boats navigate around when passing through the Western Gap does not move, so there is no material change to access.”

As part of its further research, Porter is also proposing a second runway design option for the city to consider. This includes an additional 32 metres into the water on each end of the main runway, for a total of 200 metres, and provides a number of additional benefits compared to the 168 metre option, including:

  • Favourable positioning of the existing Marine Exclusion Zone buoys, continuing to ensure no effect to the boating community by not materially encroaching upon the Western Channel.
  • Additional take-off runway distance allows for improved noise abatement procedures, including using less power on take-off.
  • A slightly longer runway should enhance the Western Channel’s safety and navigability for vessels by providing a breakwater for wave protection and reducing sediment build-up in the area.

Both options also continue to incorporate a 150 metre Runway End Safety Area (RESA). RESA initiative is currently being evaluated by Transport Canada for implementation at Canadian airports. Including RESA as part of Porter’s proposal ensures that future runway extensions are unnecessary. 

“Porter is committed to a review process that is transparent and collaborative,” said Deluce. “We are requesting that this additional runway extension plan be fully considered as part of the city’s review.”

Porter has signed a conditional purchase order for 12 Bombardier CS100 aircraft, with options for an additional 18 CS100 aircraft. The agreement also includes purchase rights for six Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft. The total purchase value could reach $2.29 billion US, if all options and purchase rights are exercised. Delivery of Porter’s first CS100 aircraft would be in 2016, pending approvals from the City of Toronto, Federal Government and Toronto Port Authority.

The CS100 will make it possible for Porter to open up new destinations and offer lower fares from BBTCA to routes such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Florida and the Caribbean. A significant boost to economic development and tourism is also anticipated.

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