Island Airport update: Porter-Air Canada throwdown heats up

Island Airport update: Porter-Air Canada throwdown heats up

The Island Airport: Continental, Air Canada and Porter all jockey for space (Image: David Haberthür)

Air Canada has taken to the courts to whine about the Toronto Port Authority’s allotment of takeoff and landing spots at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Island Airport. The company is complaining the new allocation has given a “permanent gift” to Porter Airlines, which was given the majority of the spots, according to a report by Reuters. Porter had secured 44 of the 90 new slots, while Air Canada got 30 slots and U.S.-based Continental Airlines Inc. got 16. In other words, Porter loses its monopoly, but not to the point that it gets Air Canada off its back.

Air Canada lawyers say the process of allocating the spots was “fatally flawed” and ignored plans that could have given other air carriers more presence on the island. For example, Porter Airlines currently has seven flights scheduled to fly before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Under Toronto Port Authority rules that discourage airlines from flying at night, these flights forfeit 16 landing spots because of their hours. Air Canada argues bumping those takeoffs to normal hours would free up dozens of spots for other carriers. That’s good news for competition (in theory, this means travellers pay less for tickets), but it’s bad news for lakeside dwellers who have to deal with more noise and air traffic.

We’ll have to wait for the court’s ruling, but we suggest Air Canada start offering free inflight food and a lounge with no-cost Web browsing, newspapers and espresso. You know, like a certain raccoon we know.

Air Canada in court over Toronto airport dispute [Reuters]
Air Canada to challenge Toronto Port Authority [National Post]