TORONTO, MARCH 25, 2014 — The Ontario Chamber of Commerce encourages the City of Toronto to permit jet-powered aircraft operations at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA). By increasing access to new markets, the operation of quiet jets will help Ontario emerge stronger in the global economy.
In 2012, the OCC developed Emerging Stronger: A Transformative Agenda for Ontario, which sets out an agenda to transform the province’s economy. As we move forward, it is important to champion businesses and opportunities that will have a significant positive impact on our province’s economy. The proposal to expand service at BBTCA is one such opportunity.
Allowing jets to operate from Billy Bishop is important for the following reasons:
LABOUR CONNECTIVITY AND MOBILITY
Ontario’s economy is in transition. Many areas of traditional economic strength are struggling. New sectors, such as financial and business services, are increasingly important. With an airport only steps away from downtown, passengers save two hours or more on a round trip flight. Shorter, cheaper, and more frequent travel all contribute to increased mobility and a lower cost of doing business.
Allowing quiet jets to fly from this airport will enable deeper economic links and facilitate business linkages between Toronto’s business core and other global city regions, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Mobility, connectedness, and relationship-building are crucial if we are to realize our vision for a successful Ontario. Improved air infrastructure is vital to facilitate the movement of ideas and labour and to connect entrepreneurs with opportunities.
Since 2006, over 9 million passengers have traveled from the island airport. Commercial airline operations out of BBTCA have played a key role in increasing accessibility and fostering these relationships.
LEVERAGING THE POTENTIAL OF ONTARIO’S NORTH
The return of commercial airlines to BBTCA has facilitated the integration of the Northern Ontario economy into the global marketplace. The frequency of flights to Northern Ontario destinations has increased, and fares have declined significantly. For example, since the introduction of Porter flights, fares to Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins have decreased 60 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
Opportunities for continued natural resource development in the North, including the Ring of Fire, suggest that the potential of this region in the coming years will be significant. The ability to fly quiet jets out of BBTCA will further facilitate an integrated Ontario economy and allow the province to fully capitalize on opportunities in the North. As a global mining finance centre, Toronto has much to gain from a prosperous and accessible Northern Ontario.
AN EXTRAORDINARY FUTURE
Since the return of commercial airline operations, BBTCA has been an integral part of the broader provincial economy. It has facilitated the movement of labour and ideas, relationship building, and the growth of each of its destinations in the province. Expanded service at BBTCA will create a better economic climate in Ontario. The timely approval of this request by Toronto city council, with appropriate conditions and protections for all parties, is in everyone’s interest.
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