Porter Airlines announced on Wednesday that it plans to expands its service fleet to include newly-built Bombardier jets out of Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport. While the changes haven't been approved or finalized yet, here are five facts you need to know.
1. New Planes Would Service the Airport
Porter plans to add the Canadian-built Bombardier CS100, the world's quietest commercial jet in production to its fleet. The planes have been tailored for urban airports and are comparable in noise to the airline's current fleet of Bombardier Q400s.
"They're also cleaner, consuming half the fuel per passenger than that used by most modern compact cars," explains Porter's website, "Pioneering technology means the CS100 creates 20% less carbon emissions than planes in its class, giving it a peerless environmental scorecard."
The new planes would also feature wider seats, roomier overhead bins, larger windows and more personal space for travellers.
2. Possibile New Routes
Expanding on its current list of 19 destinations such as Ottawa, New York and Boston, the changes would allow Porter to service cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami by 2016.
3. Jets Are Currently Banned
As it stands, Porter will have to ask all three levels of government to amend an agreement that bans the use of jets on the Toronto Island Airport. Porter Airlines president and CEO Robert Deluce noted the ban was put in place at a time when those jets were noisy, but the new technology of the C-Series aircraft addresses noise concerns.
4. A Bigger Runway
In order to accommodate the take-off and landing of the CS100s, the airport's main runway will need to be extended a total of 336 meters, 168 at each end.
Deluce says the runway extension request will not exceed the current airport boundaries. Flight paths would also remain unchanged, as would noise restrictions.
"The marine boundary for water craft would be untouched," he told the Toronto Star.
5. Government Approval Needed
Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford, reportedly supports jets service, while the area's councillor, Adam Vaughan is concerned about the proposal of jets flying in and out of the airport. "Paving the lake is not an option," he told CBC News.
Transportation Minister and MPP for the area, Glen Murray, told reporters at Queens Park of his concerns for the proposed expansion.
"We haven't seen any details on it yet, this is the federal government’s area of regulation," he said.
Meanwhile, NDP transportation critic and MP of for the area Olivia Chow noted to CBC News that the airport currently does not comply with a Transportation Safety Board requirement of having barriers to prevent aircraft from overshooting runways.
Government officials hadn't received any notice of Porter's plans to re-negotiate the tripartite deal at the time of the company's announcement.