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Planned Air Service at Toronto Causes Stir

February 3, 2006 By: Susan Young Travel Agent

The city and the Toronto Port Authority are at odds over the port's latest announcement that it has signed a deal for Porter Airlines, a new short-haul airline, to run a fleet of turboprop planes from Toronto's City Center Airport. That airport is located on a small island just off Toronto's downtown area. Toronto Mayor David Miller was elected in 2003 on a platform that included killing plans for a bridge link to the airport, and he has publicly said his mandate is to ensure that airport use is not expanded. The city fears the increased airport development and noise could hinder plans for the redevelopment of its waterfront district. Porter Airlines already has ordered 10 70-seat turboprop planes and holds options to purchase 10 more. The new airline is expected to serve short-haul destinations in Canada and the United States. Right now, turboprop operator Air Canada Jazz is the only airline with scheduled service from the island airport, and passengers reach the island terminal via a small car ferry. The port authority plans to renovate the terminal facilities and add a larger ferry. Most of Toronto's air traffic goes in and out of Pearson International Airport in northwest Toronto. Despite his objections, Miller has conceded that legally the city can't block the airline's plans, as the airport operates under a 50-year plan signed by city, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority in 1983.

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