Group says CSeries at Toronto City airport would undermine open skies

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A Toronto-based nonprofit group is asking the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider whether a request by Porter Airlines to fly Bombardier CS100 jets into Billy Bishop Toronto City airport threatens to violate the US-Canada open skies agreement.

In a letter to the DOT, community organisation CommunityAIR, which opposes expanded air traffic at the airport, says the agency should take the open skies agreement into account when deciding whether to renew Porter’s authority to operate flights between Canada and the USA.

Porter, which has a conditional agreement with Bombardier to purchase 12 CS100s, recently requested that the city of Toronto, Transport Canada and the Toronto Port Authority issue an exemption to allow it to operate the CSeries at Billy Bishop.

Commercial jets are banned at Billy Bishop, but Porter argues the CS100 will meet the airport’s strict noise requirements.

Porter is scheduled to begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2016, but its deal with Bombardier is conditioned upon the aircraft being certified to operate at Billy Bishop.

CommunityAIR, however, says an exemption would violate provisions of the US-Canada open skies agreement that prohibits either country from limiting the type of aircraft flown by airlines of either country.

“[Porter is] saying they want the right only to fly the CS100. If that’s the only jet permitted to fly... it excludes every other airlines,” CommunityAir chair Brian Iler tells Flightglobal.

Republic Airways, which has and order for 40 CS300 aircraft, is the only US carrier with an order for the model.

“CommunityAIR believes a current initiative under way by Porter Airlines should have material effect on the current outstanding application of the airline for a foreign carrier permit” from the DOT, the group says in its letter.

Porter has also unveiled a number of plans for runway extensions at Billy Bishop that are needed to accommodate the jet aircraft.

The city of Toronto has said it will study whether other new jets like the Embraer E2, Boeing 737 Max, Airbus A320neo or Mitsubishi MRJ70 and MRJ90 models will meet Billy Bishop’s noise requirements.

CommunityAIR advocates a cleaner, less-industrial waterfront in Toronto and seeks to return airport land to public use, according to its website.