According to four key business organizations, the Porter Airlines proposal to serve longer-range destinations from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) will be a boost to the economy, creating jobs, increasing visitor spending, and helping Toronto attract new business in a competitive global economy.
The Toronto Financial Services Alliance, Toronto Financial District BIA, Entertainment District BIA and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have made official submissions to the city expressing support for Porter’s proposal to operate the Bombardier CS100 jet at Billy Bishop Airport. City council approval of the plan would allow Porter to connect downtown Toronto with destinations such as Vancouver, San Francisco, Calgary and Miami, beginning in 2016.
“Expanding its annual passenger traffic from 26,000 to 2.3 million since 2006 has highlighted BBTCA as a significant asset and economic generator for City of Toronto residents, including the 200,000 people who work in the Financial District each day,” said Grant Humes, executive director of the Toronto Financial District BIA. “Toronto competes on a global scale with other financial centres and the direct access BBTCA provides to other cities across North America is an important benefit when attracting and retaining business.”
Janet Ecker, president and CEO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance, a public-private partnership working to enhance Toronto as a global financial services centre, noted that Toronto is now the second-largest financial centre in North America and Porter’s plans will support efforts being made to increase the number of businesses coming to Toronto.
“For financial services industries, operating in a 24/7 global environment, ease of doing business is a critical success factor – as it is for Toronto, in its role as the second-largest financial centre in North America and a growing global financial hub,” said Ecker. “The island airport has become an integral part of that success story.”
The Entertainment District BIA highlighted the value of more visitors arriving in the downtown core to its members, many of whom are small businesses.
“Downtown commercial jet service would attract more travellers and create new jobs, adding to the economic vitality of Toronto,” said Janice Solomon, executive director of the Entertainment District BIA. “This is of vital importance to our members, many of whom are restaurant and hospitality businesses that rely on robust tourist numbers.”
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce stressed the importance of a vibrant city airport to Ontario’s economy, in particular for improving connections between Northern Ontario and other North American markets.
“The return of commercial airline activity out of BBTCA has increased labour connectivity and mobility in the region, facilitated the integration of Northern Ontario into the broader provincial and global economies, and created significant economic benefits for Ontario as a whole,” the Chamber wrote in a letter to the city. “By increasing access to new markets, the operation of quiet jets will help Ontario emerge stronger in the global economy.”