Ward 3 Resident & Former GTAA Strategic Planner's Deputation Against Expansion
Former Pearson Airport Strategic Planner Tom Driedger Shares Prepared Remarks with NoJetsTO TORONTO - My name is Tom Driedger. I am a resident of Ward 3 and recently retired after a 42-year career in the airport industry. Today and for the past several months people have been debating the pros and cons of a proposal to extend the runways in order to accommodate long haul jet service. Surprisingly we have not heard anything about the underlying air transportation problem that this proposal is intended to solve. It cannot be access to national or international cities because of the range of destinations and frequencies available at Pearson. It cannot be access from the city centre to the major business destinations because Porter already serves them. It cannot be economic stimulation because the proposed destinations are already well served by other carriers from Pearson. The city does not have an air transportation problem. The proposal is solely about revenue and market share for a private company using a publicly owned airport. In addition, I suggest that we are having the wrong debate. The debate should center on role of the airport particularly its role in the context of all aviation assets that serve the city. In my view that role is for short haul flights. Regrettably, the TPA does not have a strategic plan that sets out its long--‐term vision. This is akin to the city not having an Official Plan. And, the runway extension is just the beginning. It will lead to additional airside, terminal and groundside expansion. Regrettably, the scope and impact of the complete airport development program have yet to be determined. Fortunately the lack of a complete plan was recognized in the staff report. Unfortunately the staff report seeks authorization to negotiate limits on the level of activity before the plan is completed. This is the wrong order. The role and optimal capacity of the airport need to be established first and determined apart from of the vested commercial interest of Porter and the Authority. The TPA would then be required to operate the airport within these pre-determined limits. Even without expansion, the limits set out in Phase 1 may already exceed the optimal size of airport by virtue of the traffic problems described by the gentlemen from the school board. The objective is not to find a way of creating the biggest airport possible and shoehorning it into a confined space. Rather it is to define the size and type of airport most compatible with the best overall plan for the city and then live within those bounds. Remember, the by--‐products of airport operations spread well beyond its physical boundaries and a runway extension is here forever. And, an airline’s assets are mobile, they can be gone tomorrow. Compared to the cost of the expansion, Porter has only a relatively minor investment in the airport itself. The proposal is analogous to shoving a size 12 foot into a size 5 boot. It won’ fit. It is time to say “no” to the proposal, give it the boot and give Toronto a soul. Tom Driedger ______________________ Background and Disclaimer:
Tom Driedger worked in the airport industry for over 40 years. Beginning with Transport Canada in Ottawa he held positions in Vancouver and Edmonton before moving to Toronto and later transferring to Greater Toronto Airports Authority in 1996. He retired in 2013 as Senior Manager, Strategic Planning. NoJetsTO met with Mr Driedger. In his view Porter’s project has its four distinct elements, each with it own set of problems (runway expansion, long haul flights, larger capacity aircraft and jet powered planes) making it inappropriate for the type of airport he envisions. In his words “the objective is not to find ways of creating the biggest airport and shoehorning it into a confined space. Rather it is to define the size and type of airport most compatible with the best overall plan for the city & local area and then live within those bounds.” Given the considerable common ground between our views and those of Mr Driedger, we are posting some of his background notes. These views are his and his alone. They do not represent the views of Transport Canada, and/or the GTAA .