Regco Holdings CEO Robert Deluce last month announced his intention to proceed with plans to base a new regional airline at Toronto Island Airport this year. The new carrier, called Porter Airlines, would fly 10 new 70-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops to 17 Canadian and U.S. destinations within a 500-nm radius of Toronto. The federally administered Toronto Port Authority has pledged $15 million for a new ferry, terminals and related infrastructure to support the venture, first proposed in 2002 as part of a wider plan to build a bridge to the island but later derailed by local environmental interests.
Almost immediately after Regco announced its firm order for the 10 Q400s and options for another 15, Air Canada said it would reinstate Air Canada Jazz turboprop service from the island to Montreal, increase flights to Ottawa and consider opening service to other cities. As expected, community opposition leaders reacted to the news immediately, calling for prime minister-designate Stephen Harper to freeze the plan and turn over control of the port authority to the city of Toronto.