New Airline Based in Toronto

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New island airport airline coming this year Ten 70-seat planes ordered; port authority commits $15 million to new ferry, infrastructure Feb. 2, 2006. 03:12 PM CURTIS RUSH STAFF REPORTER THESTAR.COM Amid controversy, the president of REGCO Holdings Inc. announced today that he will launch a regional passenger airline service from the Toronto Island airport this year. The new airline will be called Porter Airlines Inc. REGCO president and CEO Robert Deluce announced today that Porter Airlines has placed an order with Bombardier Aerospace for 10 70-seat Q400 turboprop aircraft. The agreement, which includes an option to buy 10 additional aircraft, is valued at more than $500 million (U.S.). Deluce said the airline will begin service later this year to short-haul Canadian and U.S. destinations within a 500-nautical mile radius of the Greater Toronto Area. Cities such as Chicago and New York are expected to be on the scheduled routes. The Toronto Port Authority, a federal agency, said it will support the airline by spending $15 million on a new ferry, terminals and related infrastructure to provide for passengers using the new carrier. A new ferry to replace the aging Windmill Point, which has been in service since the 1950s, will begin operating later this year from the foot of Bathurst St., the port authority said in a statement. Air Canada welcomed the news. Ben Smith, vice-president of network planning for Air Canada, said in a statement that "this decision will allow Air Canada, through its regional partner, Air Canada Jazz, to re-instate flights previously cancelled due to the lack of demand caused by inadequate access to the airport under the existing ferry service." Smith said Air Canada will now pursue increased flights between the island airport and Ottawa and reinstate flights to and from Montreal. The carrier will also examine additional flights to other destinations in Canada and the U.S., Smith said. Porter Airlines formally logged its flight plan today and unveiled its name and logo at a signing ceremony at the Bombardier Aerospace Downsview manufacturing facility. The company said the turboprop aircraft will minimize noise for the residents of nearby waterfront condominiums. The turboprop, the company said, "is capable of steep approach and reduced engine RPM landings to minimize operating noise. It is also the most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class, burning less fuel per seat than most regional jets and narrow-bodied aircraft." The company also said the airline and its related businesses will create 500 new direct and indirect jobs at the airport, including management, sales, marketing, engineering, maintenance, information technology, customer service, pilots and flight attendants. However, Deluce may have to fight city hall every step of the way - just like he did the last time, when he failed in his efforts to have a bridge to the island built to make it easier to run an airline. "I ran on a commitment to ensure that the island airport use was not expanded," Mayor David Miller said yesterday, referring to his campaign promise to kill plans for the bridge, which resulted in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the federal government. (The suit was settled last May when Ottawa agreed to pay the port authority $35 million. The port authority said at the time that it was continuing discussions with Deluce.) "That's an industrial use and you want waterfront revitalization to succeed, and expanded use doesn't fit," Miller said. But the city has limited control over what happens at the airport, which is managed by the port authority, a federal agency. Miller said he wants prime minister-designate Stephen Harper to turn the port authority over to the city. But that's something the city's wanted for years but never got under the federal Liberals. With files from Toronto Star staff.
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