Porter’s jets are still grounded, for the time being
Porter Airlines’ bid to expand the island airport into a hub for jet-based travel passed its latest political test on Tuesday, but only barely. Despite the efforts of a well-organized protest movement, city council’s executive committee voted to move ahead with negotiating the plan—which may sound like a win for Porter, but it’s not exactly what the company wanted.
An attempt by Rob Ford to speed things along by granting Porter what it was really after—outright approval for its plan, conditional on certain requirements being met—was shot down, eight to four. As a result, the process of winning final approval for jets could take longer than a year. Porter CEO Robert Deluce has strongly hinted that he doesn’t have that kind of time, because Bombardier, the maker of the particular model of jet Porter wants to buy, is insisting upon a nonrefundable deposit. The executive committee also voted in favour of capping the numbers of flights and passengers moving through the airport, which Deluce has said “require[s] further discussion.”
And further discussion there will be. City council still needs to give final approval to all of this, and the debate, which is supposed to be taking place at next week’s meeting, is expected to be dramatic. Some councillors are reportedly already working on ways of making sure Porter’s plans go no further.