Sunday, August 27, 2006

Racoons on Toronto Island Airport

The Toronto Star has a nice long feature this morning on Porter Airlines, which is soon to commence flights between the Toronto Island Aiport and Ottawa. It's an airline with a pretty serious management team and ambitions of flying to 17 destinations. I've never understood the economics of running a successful airline very well. But it is my sense that if I was ordering 10 new planes at a cost of $25 million each I would want to be sure that the airport I was flying them from would be functional ten years out. As it stands, there certainly seems to be a lot of uncertainty around the Toronto Port Authority and the island airport, not to mention the ensuing squabble between the airport and Air Canada Jazz. So let's hope they have their racoons in a row.

More generally, if the merits of new turboprop planes are what they are said to be - they are comparatively quieter than jets and less consumptive of fuel - then perhaps it's a shame that the Mayor of Toronto is so opposed to a successful commerical airport in the city's waterfront. My limited experience of flying into city airports and my more extensive experience of flying into far-flung airports (hello Halifax, hello every RyanAir destination) suggests that nothing matches getting from your flight to your downtown destination in less than twenty minutes. What is more, the Star article suggests that the Porter additions to the island airport should make it among the world's nicest small, public airports. I wish them all the best.

2 comments:

John Townsend said...

RE: "... Porter additions to the island airport should make it among the world's nicest small, public airports"

Hmmm ... perhaps you could provide an example of such an airport that's not somehow subsidized. It's the TPA's fervent aim that the island airport stand on its own financially as it never has. If an airport is viable, it tends to grow and expand. Indeed, its axiomatic that non-growth is a death-knell for any self-sustaining business, particularly commercial airports. The mounting pressure for improved service levels and growing profitability will inevitably translate to jets, expanded runways, and all the peripheral environmental sacrifice that typically accompanies them.
To be blithely blind to this inevitability is to be naive.

Peter Loewen said...

John:

You may be right on the mark. I just don't know enough about airline economics to be sure. But your argument seems to be a good one.