Toronto Star: Porter Airlines Runway Plans Submitted to Transport Canada
The Star Reports on the TPA Submission to Transport Canada and the Revealing City Staff Report on the Jet Review September 17, 2013 TORONTO - The Toronto Port Authority has asked Transport Canada to look at two separate runway extension proposals, put forward by Porter Airlines to allow CSeries jets to fly out of the island airport.
Transport Canada officials are expected to offer results of their review by the end of October, according to an interim city of Toronto staff report released Tuesday.
However, port authority spokeswoman Pamela McDonald said the submission was done merely as a “procedural” move as the operator of the airport, and that the port authority has not taken any position on Porter’s expansion plans.
That’s been the line it has taken ever since Porter Airlines announced in April that it wants to fly Bombardier’s new CS100 narrow-body jets from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Porter has submitted two separate runway extension plans, one that calls for a 168-metre addition at each end, and new one, calling for a 200-metre addition at each end.
The port authority has said it will wait to see what city council decides, though it is also evaluating the plans.
In the meantime, the city of Toronto is leading a formal review of the Porter proposal, everything from noise levels to traffic concerns, with a final recommendation expected by December. Mayor Rob Ford pushed for the review, which was endorsed by city council in May.
Technical consultants have been hired, and to date, the Toronto Port Authority, which is footing the bill, has paid $566,531.25.
The staff report also raises concerns about whether three key noise measures of the new jet – which had its maiden flight on Monday – will be available by the first week of November when the city review is anticipated to be completed.
“It’s not a matter of engine noise,” said Fiona Chapman, waterfront project director. “It has to be an engine operating on a plane.
“We have been crystal clear with Bombardier and with Porter that we have to completely understand whether this fits under the noise parameters,” she said in an interview.
The staff report warns that if noise measures are not available in time, “city council will have insufficient information to make an informed decision on whether the CS-100 aircraft can operate” at the island airport under the existing tripartite agreement, which governs the airport.
At Bombardier’s news conference after Monday’s first flight, Rob Dewar, vice-president in charge of the CSeries, said noise data would still be months away.
“We understand the schedule that the city has laid out. We are working to ensure that the city gets adequate information,” said Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera in an interview.
Bombardier has said the CSeries jets will be four times quieter than traditional jets because of its special geared-turbo fan engine.
Porter spokesman Brad Cicero said in an email that Bombardier’s comments refer to full certification.
“Everyone, including the city, has been aware of this timeline for many months. There will be testing completed in the coming weeks that will be provided to the city, so that a final report can be completed in November,” he added.
The staff report acknowledges the circumstances are “unusual,” given Porter Airlines approached the city directly without seeking the initial support of the airport owner and operator, the Toronto Port Authority and the regulator, Transport Canada.
Opponents like the citizens group NoJetsTO worry that a decision will be made without all the information needed, such as the potential danger of bird strikes.
“There is only nine weeks to do all of these studies, to have a fair and balanced look,” said spokesman Anshul Kapoor. “What’s the rush?”