Airport expansion will be detrimental
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Dec 10, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Airport expansion will be detrimental

Etobicoke Guardian

To the editor:

Council is now engaged in a debate on whether to endorse a proposal by Porter Airlines to increase the length of the runways at the island airport (YTZ) in order to accommodate the CS100 jet.

If approved by council and the signatories of the tri-partite agreement, Porter would be able to offer long-haul jet flights from the island airport. While allowing jets to use the airport is a useful debate, it is secondary to an issue that is not being debated, namely the roles that the island airport and Pearson (YYZ) should play in meeting the demand for aviation in the GTA.

This more important debate needs to take place outside of the commercial interests of Porter, Westjet, Air Canada or any other carrier.

The island airport serves a niche short-haul market that benefits those living or working in the core or along the lake, areas that are closer to island airport than Pearson.

As the length of a flight increases, the ground travel time advantage of the island airport decreases when considering total trip time. Therefore for long-haul flights the island airport would provide marginal or no time savings over flights to the same destinations served by Pearson.

Porter will likely not serve any destination not served from Pearson nor will it offer lower prices since other carriers will match their fares. Additionally, long-haul flights will decrease the number of slots available for short-haul routes that will in turn diminish the island airport’s ability to serve the niche market that Porter has successfully developed and is beneficial to the GTA.

Pearson is Canada’s most important airport for long-haul service, particularly international service. Short-haul demand displaced from the island airport will shift to Pearson, which could then lose some capacity for long haul flights.

In essence, expanding the runways at the island airport for long-haul traffic will serve only the vested interests of Porter and could to be detrimental to the GTA by restricting growth in long-haul services offered at Pearson.

The island airport is important but parameters need to be in place to optimize the region’s aviation assets and provide a suitable balance between the needs of travelers, neighbouring communities and waterfront development.

I suggest the following:

1. Establish a perimeter rule prohibiting flights in excess of a certain distance as is done at Washington National airport.

2. Implement a noise management quota system along the lines of the one used at London Heathrow in which limits are placed on both the number of flights and the cumulative amount of noise. (It is important to note that the NEF system with its noise contours is a land use planning tool not a noise management tool) and

3. Prohibit expansion beyond existing airport boundaries.

If jets can operate within these parameters, so be it.

Tom Driedger,

Retired, senior manager, strategic planning at Greater Toronto Airports Authority

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(5) Comment

By Senathirajah | FEBRUARY 04, 2014 01:04 AM
The use of this airport should be limited to flights within 1 Hour flying range max 90 Minutes no more . The long haul flights can go to Pearson and the Metro will be there with its train service within an year.In other words we need not have the Runway expansion . The next thing asked will be an overhead bridge and parking, etc etc the list goes on. Lets keep it as it is.
By John | JANUARY 29, 2014 01:21 PM
Sounds like all the above live on the Island.
By Ron | JANUARY 01, 2014 01:39 PM
Tom Drieger obviously knows what he's talking about and his suggestions should be both taken to heart and much more widely disseminated. Although I am in and out of Toronto several times a year and would probably enjoy the convenience of the island airport;' a no win for the community.
By Ron | DECEMBER 13, 2013 03:49 PM
An interesting perspective, looking at the balance of airports between BBTCA and Pearson. The three suggestions make sense in the context of that viewpoint, but don't subsume other considerations such as concerns expressed by Waterfront Toronto that airport development is a restraint on balanced waterfront development, or that the location of the BBTCA as a polluting entity is problematic. And the elephant on the runway: who pays for the non-airport costs of duplicating airport capacity at BBTCA? Not Porter, not TPA -- it would fall to the City taxpayer, or drink up federal infrastructure monies needed for more important uses -- even other transit uses, as the Golden report just released studies.
By Tom | DECEMBER 13, 2013 12:09 PM
I would recommend that Mr Driedger forward his comments above to other papers such as the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail- these make good sense. We don't want to dismiss the possibility of using new technology such as jets- IF they can operate within the existing runway length and noise limitations of the airport. This is NOT about any airlines business plans- it is about protecting the waterfront from rampant expansion
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