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New airlines granted approval to fly from Toronto Island

June 24, 2010, Toronto - Air Canada and U.S. carrier Continental Airlines have been granted initial approval to fly into and out of Toronto's Island Airport.


June 24, 2010
By The Canadian Press

The Toronto Port Authority said Wednesday that an independent consulting firm has recommended allocating 44 of 90 available slots to privately-owned Porter Airlines, the only existing carrier at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Airport Co-ordination Ltd., the British consulting firm hired to help with the assessment, also recommended giving 30 slots to Air Canada and 16 to Continental, a major U.S. carrier based in Houston.

The new carriers will be required to sign a formal deal with the port authority before they can use the airport.

The carriers are expected to use the island airport once a new $50-million terminal is completed at the end of this year.

"One of our priorities in 2008 and 2009 was to diversify the number of destinations and commercial airline carrier options for our business and leisure travellers,'' said Mark McQueen, chairman of the Toronto Port Authority.

"Today is an important milestone.''

Port authority president and CEO Geoff Wilson said the initial proposal process has achieved the federal agency's goal of providing travellers with more flying options.

"Over time, we hope our carrier partners will add a series of new destinations, which will further enhance the value proposition of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport,'' he said.

The airport along the Lake Ontario waterfront has been growing its operations since Porter began flying from there more than four years ago. That growth has helped ease some of the congestion faced at Toronto's major airport, Pearson International, just northwest of the city.

In March, Air Canada won the right in Federal Court to challenge the port authority's allocation of take-off and landing slots at the Island Airport.

The airline accused the port authority of giving Porter an "unfair monopoly.'' Air Canada wants to resume service to the airport initially with 15 round trips a day to both Ottawa and Montreal and seven a day to Newark, N.J.

Jazz, Air Canada's regional partner, had operated out of the island airport until 2006, when it was evicted from its terminal by a company owned by Porter founder and CEO Robert Deluce.

Porter, which promotes itself as a more convenient alternative to other airlines due to its location near Toronto's downtown core, recently suspended an initial public offering due to poor stock market conditions.