The first phase of a two-stage terminal expansion at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport opened to Porter Airlines passengers on March 7. Porter Aviation Holdings subsidiary City Centre Terminal operates the new $50 million passenger terminal and seeks retail, food services, duty-free and other tenants for the 150,000-sq-ft project. Phase one includes lounge facilities, a new check-in hall and office space.
Air Canada Jazz has signed an MOU with Bombardier that outlines the terms of a firm order for 15 Q400 turboprops, sending a clear signal to rival Porter Airlines of its intention to compete directly on routes from Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport with virtually identical airplanes.
Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines has settled quite comfortably into the niche it began carving for itself two years ago, when CEO Robert Deluce finally realized his dream of reopening Toronto City Centre Airport to scheduled airline traffic. Today, Deluce oversees a fleet of eight Bombardier Q400 turboprops flying to seven destinations within a 500-nm radius of the island airport.
As part of a plan to develop Toronto City Center Airport into a viable commercial hub, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) has entered negotiations with a local holding company to base a new regional airline at the island airport. Known as Regional Airlines Holding Co. (Regco), the new airline plans to start operations within a year, by which time it plans to inaugurate service to Ottawa, Chicago and New York.
Last month’s Regco order for 10 Q400s accompanied a flurry of minor transactions for Bombardier since AIN’s February issue went to press, starting with a contract for a pair of 74-seat Q400s from South African Airways.
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.
Would-be Toronto City Center Airport tenant Regional Airlines Holding Co. (REGCO) has filed a C$500 million ($385 million) lawsuit against the city after it reversed an earlier decision to allow construction of a bridge across Toronto Harbor to the island airport. Chief executive Robert Deluce’s proposal for the new airline, slated for launch this fall with new Bombardier Q400 turboprops, hinged on a fixed road link to the airport.
It took some deft political maneuvering, arm-twisting, wheeling, dealing and more than anything a lot of waiting, but Porter Airlines finally got airborne on October 23 from Toronto’s controversial island airport amid fierce opposition from environmentalists and Air Canada Jazz.
Air Canada Jazz suspended all service to Toronto City Centre Airport on March 1 after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that the airline would have to vacate the premises to make way for Regco Holdings subsidiary Porter Airlines. Jazz sought an injunction from the provincial court to block its eviction from the facilities by the leaseholder, fellow Regco subsidiary City Centre Aviation.
Air Canada Jazz reacted in decisive fashion to Porter Airlines’ plans to launch regional service from Toronto Island Airport this fall by announcing its own intention to fly from the controversial lakefront airfield starting August 28, despite calls from activists for a boycott of both the flag carrier and the airport.
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