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Porter Airlines responds to MRA concerns re: expansion

In response to residents’  concerns, the Mimico Residents Association recently sent several questions to Porter Airlines regarding Porter’s plans for expansion and how they might impact our area. Below are responses received from Porter. We invite residents to provide comments in the box below or via email to, so we can gauge community’s concerns on this matter.

MRA: Will the new planes produce more noise than the current prop planes that Porter flies?


  • The CS100 will be comparably quiet to the existing Q400
  • Bombardier projects that the average sound profile for the CS100 will be 85.7 decibels versus 85 decibels for the Q400. This is based on standard industry measures of approach, take off and fly by. A person could not tell the difference between these two sound levels simply by listening
  • Porter also has guaranteed aircraft performance and sound measures built into its conditional purchase agreement with Bombardier. If the CS100 does not meet these standards, the contract can be cancelled

MRA: What is the flight path of the planes and will they/do they pass over Mimico (including when there is bad weather – RFI?)?


  • Existing approach flight paths approved by NavCanada operate over water approximately 98.5% of the time
  • In low visibility conditions, the approved approach flight path from the west briefly takes aircraft over south Etobicoke at 2,000-feet elevation. This amounts to approximately 400 flights per year, or just over one per day on average
  • The CS100 is capable of operating using the same Q400 flight paths
  • Porter has invested significant resources and worked with NavCanada in the last seven years to further improve flight paths at the airport using the latest technology
  • We anticipate further improvements before the CS100’s proposed entry into service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in 2016 that eliminates all flying over the mainland in all conditions for all commercial flights

MRA: What is the expected increase in the number of planes taking off and landing (% increase and/or flights per day)?


  • The CS100 will fly longer routes, meaning it will be away from the airport for as much as 10-12 hours. This means the frequency of take offs and landings per aircraft is much less
  • An estimate of 22 additional roundtrips per day is possible
  • This remains contingent on available airport slots, plus the airport’s existing NEF 25 noise contour that limits total airport noise. This measure will not change under Porter’s proposal and is one of the key factors ensuring that the airport will never grow to the scale of major international airports

13 thoughts on “Porter Airlines responds to MRA concerns re: expansion”

  1. From these answers, I don’t feel the addition of jets to Billy Bishop Airport will be a bad thing. I would like to point out these are Porter’s answers, however, and it would be very prudent to have an unaligned industry expert to answer these questions also.

    Other concerns:
    What is NEF25?
    How easy is that to change; who makes that change?
    What is the process to have these jets prevented from landing at Billy Bishop Airport, if these assertions are false? (we won’t know until they start to use them)

    1. I would be interested to see a map of the proposed runway extension to see how it will impact the lake.

      What would be the environmental impact on the migrating birds?

      I hear airplanes over my house now during bad weather so their averaging doesn’t help me on a bad day where 22 flights are overhead. When would the flight paths be changed?

      Increased flights will draw more traffic to that area and consequently make the Gardiner and Lake Shore busier. What are the plans for TTC and supporting infrastructure to mitigate this congestion?

      1. Martha:
        NEF stands for Noise Exposure Forecast that takes in account the actual and forecast noise aircraft will produce around an airport. An NEF level of 35 or higher will generate a lot of noise complaints, if it’s over 25, it’ll be an annoyance in the vicinity of the airport, you can find out more here:

        As for stopping the jets from flying if they start using them, all you can do is petition the federal government through Transport Canada. But seeing as they already have procedures in place to handle noise and are working on improving them, it’ll be hard to do as they already trying to fix any potential problems.

        While I haven’t been able to find anything official, many groups have taken details from the request and super-imposed them onto images taken from Google Earth. This one here is from The National Yacht Club Toronto that shows the proposed extensions:

        For the flight paths being changed, they’re saying they’d be changed by 2016 which is when they plan to roll out the C-Series jets. As a commercial pilot whose company flies into the island, I can tell you that they usually keep us out over the lake as much as possible. There are procedures for bad weather conditions that also keep you over the lake, but when the weather is very poor, we have to fly over the shoreline (and Mimico) in order to land on the eastbound runway (if it’s in use, which would be when there’s an easterly wind). Without going into a lot detail, I’m just going to say that one can’t change easily.

        Also, be aware that flights going into Pearson come over Mimico as well and any itinerant general aviation (small aircraft) fly directly over us. In fact, a small Cessna 172 (4-seater single engine piston aircraft) produces on average 101 decibels (dB) compared to 85.7 dB and 85 dB produced by the CS100 and Q400 respectively. And those are the guys that I usually hear in the neighbourhood.

        I don’t think bringing these jets will be a bad thing. It’ll help create more jobs and bring more money into the city (and no one should be complaining about that) with minimal impact on the surrounding area.

        1. The noise is one of many issues. The increased pollution both by smell and particulate will increase. This is a real health and environmental issue. Not only would the jets emit fumes but the increased traffic would add to the already polluted air along the Lakeshore. The impact on tourism would be a real financial loss for Toronto. When you look at ads on TV for tourism – Chicago, Newfoundland, Niagara and Toronto – none of them have jets fling on the waterfront. Why – because they significantly impact the enjoyment of waterfronts.

        2. Porter is not making money for the city. The Toronto Port Authority which hosts Porter owed Toronto $50 million in back taxes and worked out a deal to pay a fraction of that.
          As for the jobs, taxi and limo drivers in Pearson say they are losing work and that the jobs are just being moved from one airport to another.
          The planes from Porter are not just flying over the lake but over all the waterfront neighbourhoods. This is creating pollution already without jets and it affects our drinking water. In addition there is a bird sanctuary nearby and birds are being killed in large numbers.
          There is a rail line being built from Pearson and Pearson is not filling to capacity. Porter can fly their jets from there. Why destroy our beautiful waterfront?!
          12.5 million visitors use the waterfront every year. Even large cities like Chicago have abolished their waterfront airports.
          Think of the future of our gem!

  2. You may be interested in reading York Quay Neighbourhood’s letter to the Waterfront Secretariat of 15 June, 2013. Jets belong at Pearson. If allowed, they would change our extended Waterfront forever.

    Dear Mr. Dunn,

    I am writing on behalf of York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA) to object to the jet expansion of the Island Airport. We live and work on the iconic Central Waterfront, a mixed-use neighbourhood that offers natural beauty, culture, urban renewal – and the Island Airport.

    We have learned to live with this niche airport, despite its intrusions of noise, pollution and traffic congestion.

    When we heard of Robert Deluce’s plans to expand the Airport with runway extensions to allow jet planes we were shocked, knowing both changes are banned in the Tripartite Agreement. Even Toronto Port Authority agreed in their report from 2009: “… we believe they are incompatible with a densely populated mixed-use community surrounded by recreational and cultural amenities.”

    Mr. Deluce’s promise to double his business with jets would:

    · Increase noise and pollution (CS100 jets are twice the weight of Q400 prop planes)

    · Double traffic congestion on already clogged access streets

    · Expand exclusion zones around extended runways into the lake

    · Create obstructions to boating and access through the Western Gap

    · Affect schools, community centre and homes next to the Airport

    · Add danger to planes and birds (a bird sanctuary is adjacent to the Airport)

    · Legally open the Airport to all types of jets

    The Waterfront is a huge and thriving business, used by people from the entire GTA and home to tens of thousands in high-rise buildings near the flight path. Our businesses are growing, along with cultural and recreational venues, corporate headquarters and educational institutions.

    Three levels of government are pouring millions into developing the Waterfront, making it North America’s largest urban renewal project. With noise and pollution from jets overhead, will people want to live on the Waterfront? Work on the Waterfront? Invest in the Waterfront? Even visit here, as millions do now every year?

    New lands are slated for redevelopment on the Waterfront: The Port Lands, East Bayfront, Exhibition Place and Ontario Place. A jet airport nearby would strictly limit future prospects and deter developers from investing.

    To the City, the economic importance of the Waterfront far exceeds the impact of the Island Airport. Porter, a private company with near monopoly in the Airport, won’t open its books or reveal load factors on flights. The TPA refuses to pay its full PILTS to the City. Thus, the airport has a largely unknown financial impact on the City. Waterfront Toronto has generated an impressive $3.2 billion in economic output on the Waterfront already.

    We urge the Waterfront Secretariat to take a strong stand against the jet expansion on the Island Airport. We expect City Council will do the same.


    Ulla Colgrass

    Planning Committee


    (416 867-6200)

  3. Please also visit

    There are many issues surrounding the proposal to fly jets into Billy Bishop airport – noise is only one issue. A busy commuter airport with increased jet traffic is inconsistent with the vision for Toronto’s extended waterfront.

    Visit to find out more about the issues, and why we should ask city council to NOT allow jets at Billy Bishop. The website will have an online petition, and give you the opportunity to email your city councillor directly.

  4. I too do not favour introducing jets to the island airport. Attached is a summary of my note to Mr Dunn at the Waterfront Secretariat. Monday June 15, 2013

    I am an affected stakeholder of the proposed Jet Ban Exemption Request at BBTCA and any modifications to the Tripartite Agreement. I am a resident on the waterfront, a professional architect and urban planner by training, and a taxpayer. I support the ban on jets at the island airport.

    1. With the expansion since 2006, the long-term public interest has been already been severely compromised. BBTCA has been using planes that do not meet the original restriction under the Tripartite Agreement.

    2. The expansion appears to have been carried out primarily by the TPA and a private operator, without it seems, any of the normal minimal safeguards related land use, health and safety, traffic and transportation, noise and air pollution, flora, fauna, birdlife — the list goes on. We do not need more gridlock, pollution and damage to our lake and the shoreline.

    3. The Municipality (one of the 3 parties to the TA) has not adequately enforced its legal responsibilities, as set out in the original Tripartite Agreement. The proposed study should include an independent evaluation of its performance in this respect, in order to strengthen its institutional capacity, to do a better job in the future (even without jets).

    4. We need clarify the Province’s role in respect of land use (and water) in the vicinity of, and directly impacted by BBTCA. It has conveniently stayed out claiming it is not part of the Tripartite Agreement. We need to understand legal responsibilities, (especially as it can interferes through the OMB whenever it likes). We need to introduce more accountability at all 3 levels of government that theoretically are custodians of lands in the public trust.

    5. As taxpayers, we are affronted by the wastage of public funds by the government(s). Three levels of government have invested more than $1.5 billion of taxpayer money towards building a world-class waterfront. Will all this planning and investment be now put at risk? Introducing jets is a major game changer. Please can we have a comparative study of the costs and benefits of introducing jets to the island airport, versus the costs and benefits of completing the waterfront as planned by Waterfront Toronto?

    6. There is more wastage also in duplicating jet services at BBTCA. The Province (through Metrolinx) is investing in a high-speed rail link from Union Station to Pearson, expected to be operational in just 24 months. There is no economic justification to put that rail investment also at risk. The City study should include a cost-benefit analysis of flying jets out of the island airport instead of Pearson.

    7. Vast sums of taxpayer money have been spent on building capacity at Pearson (currently under-utilized, thus leading to the highest landing fees in the world). Common sense requires an evaluation of the economic and financial impact of the island jet proposal on Pearson, and whether these costs can be transferred and charged directly to travellers flying from the island.

    8. Extending the main island airport runway is a significant, permanent change that will have a lasting impact on the lake, the waterfront (including the sterilization and devaluation of Ontario Place and environs) and the City. In the event that the likely impacts are not properly evaluated, the cost of reversing damage will be prohibitive.

    9. The legal basis for restricting use of BBTCA to the C100 Jet requires exploration. An exemption of the Mr. Deluce’s Jet could open the door to other commercial jets using the airport (WTO and other legal treaty regulations may prohibit restrictions to use of only a specific national make of jet), significantly increasing the airport’s adverse impacts. The City must study this issue and its conclusions, accompanied by a Legal Opinion from a qualified authority, must form an integral part of the Report to be presented to the City in September 2013.

    10. Finally, What’s the hurry? Why such a tight time frame. This is much too big a decision, which will have long-term consequences. (I recall that it took longer for the City to decide on the pricing of plastic shopping bags, and almost 24 months to agree on the introduction of more varied ethnic street foods).

    11. I know of no other city in the world that would take such a prime natural resource and build a commercial airport on the waterfront, especially given such viable options available as in Toronto. The City cannot afford to take a hasty gamble. I hope the City will treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves.

    Braz Menezes,
    2512-55 Harbour Square
    Toronto, ON M5J2L1

  5. As Jane Jacobs predicted in 2002, “the airport is a Trojan horse”. When you consider added pollution, noise, safety hazards, jets simply do not belong on our waterfront. Planes can fly anywhere. Our precious waterfront can not be replaced.

    In 2009 the Toronto Port Authority said jets were “incompatible with a densely populated mixed-use community surrounded by recreational and cultural amenities.” How have jets suddenly become desirable in 2012, when the multiplicity of elements that were unfavourable are infinitely worse today!

    As Tripartite Agreement partners, why are the City of Toronto and the Federal Government not protecting our waterfront? Ask Transport Minister Lebel – email Phone Mayor Ford, too, at 416-397-3673. Save our waterfront!

  6. It would be nice if the Mimico Residents Association might invite representatives of the Bathurst Quay Community Association, the York Quay Community Association, and the Toronto Island Community Association to address these concerns from a community perspective.

    Do not be fooled noise is NOT the main concern of the local residents association although Porter and Bob Deluce the owner are trying to make noise the main focus of this campaign.

    Lets put the problem in a way that your organization can understand.
    First of all imagine that your water front from the most easterly point of Humber Bay Park almost to Royal York Road will be an exclusion zone where all boat traffic will be forbidden.
    Transport Canada decides the keep out area not Bob Deluce.
    What this means for the Central Waterfront is that the keep out zone will be from the middle of the harbour to the middle of Ontario place. Any boaters from Mimico will have to go around the Island as the Western Gap will be permanently closed. The Ferry system to the Island will be hampered as well having to go east before going west to land at Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point.
    Now imagine Park Lawn Drive with a Street Car Line turning left on Marine Drive. Add a million private cars and taxis as well as thousands of busses and service vehicles. Now you have an idea of what it is like at Bathurst and QueensQuay.
    On the South-east corner of Bathurst & QueensQuay is a building that houses two schools, a daycare, and a Community Centre with outdoor basketball courts.
    Most of the children have to cross this intersection. The intersection has a Crossing Guard who was ignored by the Taxis and private vehicles. The parents complained to the Toronto Port Authority for years about vehicles turning through the intersection while the children and Crossing Guard were still in crosswalk. It wasn’t until the parents made banners and walked into the intersection with the Guard that traffic was stopped while the children were in the crosswalk was the situation changed.
    Porter wants to double the number of passengers through this single intersection; now that is a BIG problem.

    There are over 100,000 waterfowl in and around the Island Airport. There is a bird sanctuary on the Island very close to the end of the runway in the Bay. On the Leslie Street Spit in Tommy Thompson there is another sanctuary for colonial waterfowl with thousands of Cormorants, Gulls, Terns, Night Herons.
    When Bob Deluce started Porter he said there was nothing to worry about because the Q 400 was a Turbo Prop with a small air intake. Even so there have been over 200 bird strikes on the Q 400 since Porter started in 2006.
    The CS100 has a 6 foot(2 meters) diameter air intake. The CS 100 is tested to take one 4 pound chicken in the jet engine and keep running. Geese are up to 15 pounds, Cormorants are up to 5.5 pounds. Both these birds are common in the Bay and fly though the flight area of landing aircraft at the Island Airport.
    Many of you will recall “The Miracle on the Hudson” the crash of US Airways flight 1549 that was brought down by geese in the engines.
    Sully Sullenberger had 30 years experience flying large jetliners, none of Bob Deluce’s pilots have any where near that kind of experience.
    If Jets are permitted on the Island Airport there will be a huge cull of the waterfowl in Toronto’s Harbour.

    Now to the noise situation; the buildings that were built along the waterfront near the airport in the 80’s and 90’s were built with the sound proofing needed to keep out the noise as set out in the Tri-Partite Agreement.
    Now Bob Deluce’s Q 400s are louder than the Tri-Partite Agreement allows; this is clear from comparing the noise limits in the TPA to the official noise readings of this plane.
    The main noise that is bothersome to the residents in the Bathurst is the noise generated on landing and taking off. This happens up to 202 times a day.
    The other main noise is when they do maintenance run-ups; this is when they run the engines at maximum speed for up to 15 minutes at a time. This usually happens early on Sunday mornings and sometimes at night.

    As the CS 100 has not flown yet there are no real sound impacts available.
    But we know that the CS 100 is twice as heavy as the Q 400. We expect that the noise generated by the CS 100 on take off and landing will be much louder than the Q 400.
    Run-ups will again be much louder than the Q 400.

    So I ask you again to listen to the real life experiences of the residents that live near this airport.

  7. The amount of jet exhaust pollution is dangerous.
    The chemicals in the exhaust are very toxic.

    Pollution is poison to humans, birds, fish, and the life forms in a lake.

    It is wrong to encourage people to move their homes and businesses, encourage activities all along the shoreline, and then introduce large jets all day long, coming and going.

    If Porter wants to ‘graduate’ to jets, he can go to Pearson. The rail line to Union will be done soon.

  8. The particulars don’t look so bad. The question is do we want to turn our waterfront into a major airport and degrade our environment: more noise, more pollution, more traffic. I don’t think so. The recent history of the island airport has been one of relentless expansion, they say no more expansion and then a year or two later they want to expand again and give the impression that is all they want. Don’t be fooled by what sounds like limited expansion. As recently as 2009 the Toronto Port Authority agreed in their report on jets: “… we believe they are incompatible with a densely populated mixed-use community surrounded by recreational and cultural amenities.”

  9. Why are we permitting an unnecessary VIP airport to expand and even consider flying jets on our valuable, incomparable waterfront? The paralysing traffic, horrendous child safety issues, hours of noisy planes taking off, landing and revving up, and diminishment of long-time residents’ enjoyment of their homes did not exist before the TPA let Porter establish.

    As long as the Island Airport was a lazy one, with limited general aviation, flying lessons and emergency flights, no one complained. It was fun and pleasant to watch noon flying lessons before all the exploding waterfront development took place.

    The Southern Ontario Airports Study said that the airport could never be profitable without jets and that would not take place in view of planned development. Surely the Toronto Port Authority was aware of that study before their varied bridge attempts and Porter. The TPA actually recongized in their 2009 Annual Report that jets were “incompatible”.

    Suddenly, in 2013, a complete turn-about by TPA. In spite of expanded development, quadrupled recreational and business boating, thousands of Harbourfront activities, a proliferation of 60 high-rise condos within four square blocks and more being built right on Queens Quay, jets have magically become desirable. Can anyone explain this??? Balancing jet travel for busy executives against the rights of all Torontonians to possess and enjoy their precious waterfront gives a clear answer… Jets belong at Pearson and perhaps Porter does, too!!!

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