Nearly two-thirds of Torontonians support Porter Airlines' plans to fly Bombardier CS100 aircraft into Toronto City Billy Bishop airport if the aircraft makes a "comparable" amount of noise to the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s flown there now, says a poll carried out on behalf of the airline by iFusion Research.
About 66.2% of Torontonians supported Porter's plans to bring the jets to Billy Bishop, the results show, and 22.3% were opposed to the measure while 11.5% of the respondents said they were unsure. The research firm surveyed 19,500 people between 17 and 19 April, says Porter.
Porter had signed a conditional purchase order with the manufacturer for 12 CS100 aircraft with 18 options, which would be delivered from 2016. The deal also includes purchase rights for up to six Q400s.
The CS100 would be the cornerstone of Porter's expansion plan to fly to cities as far as Vancouver and Los Angeles from Toronto City. However, the deal is conditional upon receiving an exemption from a tripartite agreement in place between Canada's federal government, the city of Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority to fly the CS100 at the airport. That agreement prohibits commercial jets from taking off or landing there.
To accommodate the CS100, Porter is requesting that the airport's main runway be extended by 168m on each side. Of the survey respondents, 62.5% supported plans to lengthen the runway, while 28.7% were opposed to it and 20% were undecided. The aircraft needs at least 4,000ft (1,220m) to take off and 4,400ft to land.
Porter's chief executive Robert Deluce says he is confident the public will see the benefits of bringing the CS100 to Toronto City, but Porter will have to garner support from Toronto's city council to change the tripartite agreement.
The airline has begun the process of engaging Toronto's representatives in a dialogue about what the plan would mean and it has contacted the Toronto Port Authority and Canada's federal government.
"We've sent a formal letter to all three members of the tripartite agreement," says Porter.
The Toronto Port Authority says it will wait for Toronto City Council to address Porter's proposal before acting on the issue.
"The 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," said the authority in an 11 April statement a day after Porter announced the order in Toronto.
The authority had "no further comment" on Porter's survey.
Deluce told Flightglobal on 10 April that he hoped the airline could reach an agreement to make the changes within six months. He noted that the CS100 is quieter than the jets available in 1983, when the tripartite agreement was first instituted. He also underscores that the CSeries jets would be an economic driver, adding up to 1,000 additional jobs.
The Toronto Port Authority says that the CS100 appears to be the only commercial jet that would comply with the strict noise requirements at the airport.
"According to the best available current information, the only jet aircraft used (or forecast to be used) by commercial airline carriers that appears to comply with the aircraft noise limits as laid out in the existing 1983 Tripartite Agreement is the Bombardier CS100 aircraft," said the authority in a statement on its website.
The CSeries' first test flight is scheduled for June, with first deliveries scheduled to begin in mid-2014.