Porter Airlines is seeking a major change in regulations governing its base at Billy Bishop Toronto City Center Airport to accommodate an expansion into jet operations.
The airline, which yesterday confirmed a purchase agreement with Bombardier for 12 CS100s, is seeking a change to a 1983 accord that limits jet operations at Billy Bishop to a small number of charter flights. Porter also is seeking regulatory approval to extend the island airport’s main runway by 168 meters at each end, which will require an extension into Lake Ontario.
The approvals will be required from local and national authorities and under the delivery schedule detailed yesterday the airport will need to be upgraded by 2016, when the first CSeries is scheduled for delivery.
But Porter’s 2016 goal may be too optimistic. The airport’s owner, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), just hours after the airline’s announcement, issued a statement noting that “TPA will not consider any change of use to the airport until a determination is first made by the elected representatives on Toronto City Council regarding Porter’s proposed changes to the 1983 Tripartite Agreement.”
Approval also is required from the central government.
Porter’s CSeries order, which also includes 18 purchase rights, marks a departure from the airline’s current business model, which relies on a fleet of 26 turboprops to serve domestic routes and U.S. cities close to the Canadian border.
With the 107-seat CS100s, Porter now intends to spread its network across North America, mostly to the west coast of Canada and the U.S., and into the Caribbean.