Toronto councillors defer decision on Porter CS100 plans

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An executive committee on Toronto's city council voted today to defer consideration of Porter Airlines' plan to bring the Bombardier CS100 to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport until early 2014.

Councillors on an executive committee are scheduled to re-visit the proposal again during a 4 February meeting. The plan could be considered earlier if the committee’s chairman decides to hold a special meeting.

The plan would have been considered by the full city council chamber on 16 December if the executive committee had voted to move it forward.

Several councillors on the city’s executive committee spoke in favour of deferring the plan to bring the CS100 to the island airport to allow for more time to analyse studies on how jet operations would impact long-term plans for the airport and surrounding waterfront community.

Porter had said it was looking forward to the full council deliberations in December, but says in a statement on its Facebook page that “a short-term deferral is a positive step forward” allowing the city to take more time to evaluate outstanding questions about the plan.

“This not only allows the city to have further discussions with the Toronto Port Authority and federal government, but provides an opportunity for consultant reports commissioned by city staff as part of their review to be studied in greater detail,” says Porter in a statement.

The airline announced the conditional CSeries order in April, which includes 12 firm CS100 aircraft to be delivered between 2016 and 2018 as well as 18 options.

In order for Porter to operate the CS100 at the island airport in addition to its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop fleet, a long-standing tripartite agreement prohibiting jet operations at the airport would need to be amended by the city of Toronto, the Toronto Port Authority and Transport Canada. This agreement prohibits jets at the airport until 2033.

Billy Bishop’s nearly 4,000ft (1,219m) main runway would also have to be extended to accommodate the jets, which would also need to go through an approval process.

In the case that the plan is accepted, it is unclear how much lead time Porter would require between between finalising the approvals and taking delivery of the first CS100 planned for 2016.

Porter’s chief executive Robert Deluce said in April that councillors would have to approve the plan by July to make preparations ahead of the first aircraft delivery. However, the airline has said in recent months that a vote by the end of the year would still leave enough time to finalise its purchase order.