The Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre have made official submissions to Toronto City Council to express their support for Porter Airline’s plans to add jet service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Porter announced its plans to purchase Bombardier CS100 aircraft last April. The new jets would allow the airline to add medium-range routes (Vancouver, Florida, Edmonton, etc.) to its roster. They also require the expansion of the airport’s existing runways. Local residents’ groups are opposing the expansion plans, citing concerns about noise and environmental impacts.
“I have no doubt that if Porter receives the approval of city council to move forward with this initiative, the hospitality industry and the city will see direct benefits,” said Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association. “Porter’s proposal will be an economic catalyst and I am confident that we will see more room customers and increase our ability to showcase Toronto as the first-class city it is.”
A City of Toronto study confirmed that an increase in tourism will result in more spending, specifically in Toronto’s accommodation, arts and entertainment, and sporting sectors, in the range of $134 million per year.
“Overnight stays from United States have increased for the third year in a row to 2.18 million, which is a positive sign for our industry as the United States economy shows signs of rebounding,” said Terry Mundell, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association. “High-value American visitors arriving in Toronto by air now make up 61 per cent of all U.S. visitors, up from 51 per cent five years ago. Porter has been instrumental in this growth to date and can become an even greater catalyst by adding more routes.”
The city’s Economic Impact Study estimated that approval of Porter’s plan to add destinations such as Vancouver, Calgary, California and Florida will result in more than $250 million of incremental economic impact and 2,000 new jobs.
“I strongly support the economic spin-off that Porter’s proposal will provide to the tourism and hospitality industry,” said Barry Smith, president and CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “Porter’s leading role in revitalizing the downtown airport has meant a great deal to convention centre business, and has made getting to this location much more convenient.”
Porter proposes introducing jet aircraft at Billy Bishop Airport that meet strict existing noise limits. A runway extension of up to 200 metres into the water at each end will stay within the airport’s existing marine boundaries and not affect traditional boat traffic.