Toronto Star: Passenger Cap Feud Continues
The Port Authority Continues to Ignore the Will of City Council on Passenger Caps Traffic issues stemming from the Island Airport are one factor behind the push for passenger caps TORONTO - The Toronto Port Authority and the city are locked in a battle over flight restrictions at the island airport that could block the possibility of jets.
The port authority, which operates the airport, wants work ordered by city council in April, including an environmental assessment, preliminary runway design and updated airport master plan, done first, before any discussions begin on airport caps.
“We think that work should be done as the first order of events and the implementation of caps in advance of that is the wrong order,” said port authority president and CEO Geoff Wilson in an interview, noting requests for proposals are now out. “That work will inform the discussion on caps.
“We do not disagree with caps. We were the ones put forward the idea and concept of caps,” he added.
The city has a different view — believing that a decision on the size and scope of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport must be settled first.
Without a clear commitment on caps and phased growth, deputy city manager John Livey has said, there would be little sense in considering the jet expansion that Porter Airlines is seeking.
In a May 7 letter to Wilson, Livey emphasized that without the caps, “staff do not have the authority to negotiate tripartite agreement changes to permit jet-powered aircraft and runway extensions.”
The city is refusing to budge on its demand that growth must be managed at the airport, especially given traffic woes near Bathurst St. and Queens Quay. It first wants to see written changes to the tripartite agreement that governs the airport’s operations, which would limit flights and passenger numbers.
In April, Toronto city council voted unanimously to begin talks with the port authority on flight and passenger caps as well as design and construction details for a possible runway extension to accommodate jets.
The politicians put off the bigger question of whether jet aircraft should be permitted until 2015, after October’s municipal election. Porter Airlines had sought approval to use Bombardier’s CSeries jets beginning in 2016.
The island airport now handles about two million local passengers a year, plus 300,000 transit passengers.
The city’s proposal would limit the number of takeoffs and landings to the current 202 a day, and restrict local passengers to 2.4 million a year initially, with no more than 884 passengers per peak hour, with only 16 takeoffs or landings per peak hour.
Volumes would grow to 2.7 million a year, or 1,178 passengers per peak hour in the second stage, with 20 takeoffs or landings per peak hour, with final caps to be determined later. Source: Toronto Star article, published 2014-05-09