Air Canada to resume flying out of Toronto after six year break

Monday, October 18, 2010, 9:30 by Aviation Correspondent

Air Canada has announced flights out of Toronto’s island airport, starting February.

The airline said that about 15 non-stop flights would be offered daily to flyers from the downtown airport to Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport.

After 15 years of flying out of the location, Air Canada had been barred from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport when the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) allowed its terminal lease to expire in 2004. Since 2006, Porter Airlines has had exclusive commercial flying rights at the airport.

Now, Air Canada has entered into a new agreement with the body that operates the Billy Bishop Airport – the Toronto Port Authority. According to this, Air Canada will now be able to use the airport, subject to conditions like securing an agreement with City Center Terminal Corp., which leases the terminal space and other stipulations.

This development comes in just when it looked like Air Canada was losing out to Porter Airlines, after a federal judge had dismissed the airline’s allegations of wrongdoing that it had brought up against Porter.

Air Canada says that it will be flying Bombardier Q400 turboprops, which is the same craft that rivals Porter Airlines, are using. This new development will be extremely beneficial to Air Canada customers who are using the airline’s RapidAir service (which offers flights every 30 minutes during peak times). Having the airline operate out of Toronto means that travelers now have easy access between Montreal and Toronto – two of Canada’s largest cities. This development is seen as a big step in the airline working on developing a product that is tailor-made for meeting the needs of these passengers.

According to a statement from Air Canada, the new non-stop daily flights to Montreal will be operated in association with a regional airline partner – Sky Regional Airlines. This choice was the result of a competitive bid; Sky has a good track record in the area of customer service and maintaining Q400 aircraft. Air Canada says that this association does not in any way change the airline’s relations with other regional carriers like Jazz Air LP. Sources at Air Canada also revealed that the airline is currently negotiating the terminal facilities at the Toronto City location with the owner of the terminal – City Center Terminal Corp.

Air Canada appeared to have lost its latest battle with Porter over access to the island airport in July when a federal court judge dismissed its allegations of wrongdoing against Porter and the TPA related to tarmac slots at the airport.

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