Wings Magazine

Southern Ontario airports unite to increase demand, capacity

With air travel demand forecast to outpace the current capacity of the region’s airports, a group of eleven Southern Ontario airports have responded with the launch of the Southern Ontario Airport Network (SOAN).

May 10, 2017  By Matt Nicholls

The group discussed the future goals and concept of the network at an event May 9 at the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport.

The group, comprised of 11 of the region’s most commercially significant airports, is dedicated to making sure the growing demand for air travel in Southern Ontario, which is expected to reach approximately 110 million passengers by the early 2040s, is supported.

Members of the Southern Ontario Airport Network include: Toronto Pearson International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Hamilton John C. Munro International Airport, Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport, Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, London International Airport, Oshawa Executive Airport, Niagara District Airport, Peterborough Airport, Region of Waterloo International Airport, and Windsor International Airport.


Transport Canada (TC) and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation are also important contributors to SOAN’s work.


Among the short, medium and long-term goals of the SOAN include:

  • Completing an economic analysis of the impact of the Southern Ontario Airport Network for our communities, the region and the province;
  • Understanding the ground transportation needs in Southern Ontario and advocating for investment in ground transportation improvements that will reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions; and,
  • Developing best-in-class strategies for responsible and sustainable airport growth including community engagement and noise management.

In conjunction with the launch event, the SOAN released a statement of intent titled, “Flying Together: The Southern Ontario Airport Network.” The paper emphasizes that planning for growth in a responsible way is essential; without it, the region could potentially leave $15 billion in GDP on the table and force more than 20 million passengers to look elsewhere for their air travel needs.

The members of the SOAN recognize that the region has the potential, given its many air transportation assets, to meet the growing demand for air travel. Through responsible planning, the SOAN will ensure that the region is well placed to keep the jobs and economic benefits of air service demand in Southern Ontario.

The full statement of intent is available online:

“Our forecast tells us that by 2043 aviation demand will be around 110 million passengers,” noted Howard Eng, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA). “When we look at what the current capacity amongst airports in the region, we would be leaving 20 million passengers ‘on the table’ if we don’t take action now. Thankfully, we have a network of great airports, which have come together to start brainstorming ways to capitalize on this incredible opportunity.

“We know that the efficient movement of people and goods to and from our region is an important part of Canada’s broader supply chain, and that we have a role in enabling economic prosperity through our actions and investments. As we look to the future of this growing region, we know that each of our airports can play a greater role in supporting our local and regional economies.”


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