Porter Airlines has put forward a new proposal for an even longer runway at Toronto’s island airport to handle jets.
The latest option calls for a 400-metre extension to the current runway — an additional 200 metres at each end — instead of the original proposal of 168 metres at each end into the water.
While Porter Airlines CEO Robert Deluce insists both plans are viable, and he doesn’t favour one over the other, he said the longer runway has different benefits, including less noise on takeoff.
Noise is a serious concern for residents of the Toronto islands as well as those who live on the waterfront.
“Our objective has always been to design a runway that doesn’t change the enjoyment of Lake Ontario by Torontonians,” said Deluce in an interview. “Both achieve that objective.”
But with a longer runway, less power would be needed on takeoff, and “it would make it even quieter,” he added.
Other benefits would be that the runway would serve as a natural breakwater at the Western Gap, making it easier for boaters to navigate through, and possibly reducing sediment buildup there, he added.
“We are not saying one is better or worse,” he said. “We are putting the option on the table. It’s for others to decide.”
Opponents say the proposal would encroach on boaters and lake users even more.
“Deluce’s push for paving the lake was already bad enough — and now he is going even further with his 400 metre proposal,” NoJetsTO chair Anshul Kapoor said in a news release. “The only guy to profit from filling in Lake Ontario now wants to sacrifice even more of it.”
He added that this crucial information was dropped “mere hours before the first public consultation,” calling it “a slap in the face for concerned Torontonians.”
Porter has placed a conditional order for 12 Bombardier CSeries jets and options for another 18 planes — which have been touted as quieter than other aircraft because of its special turbo-geared fan engine.
Bombardier has said the maiden flight of the all-new plane made with composite materials is expected in the coming weeks.
Deluce, who has dubbed the plane the “whisper jet,” has said if Porter does win approval to amend the rules to permit jets at the island airport as well as a runway extension, then the airline won’t buy the planes.
A tripartite agreement, signed by the federal goverment, the Toronto port authority, which manages the airport, and the city of Toronto would need to be amended.
The city begins a series of public consultations on Wednesday afternoon that coincides with ongoing consultant studies that are already under way.
Deluce has said he hopes city council will be able to vote on changes by December.
The larger CS100 planes would give Porter the ability to fly to destinations as far away as Florida or California. It is unable to do so with its current fleet of Q400 turboprops.