September 8 restart comes after 18-month temporary suspension of commercial service due to COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport today celebrates a return to the skies with the restart of commercial airline service by Porter Airlines and Air Canada after temporarily suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Billy Bishop Airport’s staff, stakeholders and government partners marked the day and recognized the conclusion of a difficult period for the aviation industry by welcoming back passengers and getting back to the business of making connections and supporting Toronto’s economy. The commercial restart coincidentally takes place on the 82nd anniversary of the island airport’s very first commercial flight in 1939.
Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport, was joined by His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, and Michael Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines in offering remarks to celebrate the occasion. Passengers and staff were treated to giveaways and prizes, and a commemorative first flight to Ottawa attended by key stakeholders and partners was “readied for takeoff” with a special water canon salute performed by the airport’s onsite Airport Rescue and Firefighting team.
On September 8 Air Canada will restart its service to Montreal, while Porter Airlines will phase in its scheduled offering with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto. Halifax, Moncton, Quebec City and St. John’s, NL, return over the next 10 days, while U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington are planned to follow on September 17. Remaining year-round markets served by Porter begin on October 6.
Geoffrey Wilson, CEO, PortsToronto
“This is a day that we have all been looking forward to and planning for since March 2020, when the pandemic emerged and our world changed overnight. Today we mark a return to commercial service at Billy Bishop Airport and a return to the business, passengers and experiences that make our airport truly unique and inspire our love of travel. The restart of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is also an important component of the City of Toronto’s recovery strategy as our restart means a return of jobs, a return of trade and tourism, and a return of a valuable gateway to one of the best cities in the world.”
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
“The restart of commercial service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is an important sign of the progress we have made combatting the pandemic and getting residents vaccinated. We are safely reopening our city and I’m so confident that our economic recovery will be a success. Toronto will come back stronger than ever thanks to all of our collective efforts across the city. I want to thank everyone who has worked on the airport restart effort. Today we are welcoming back commercial service and all that it brings with it – more jobs, more business, and more tourism.”
Michael Deluce, CEO, Porter Airlines
“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport remains as the world’s best urban airport and everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again.”
Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management, Air Canada
“Air Canada is very pleased to offer customers the option of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport when travelling to Montreal or connecting beyond from there on our extensive global network. We are returning with a schedule of five, conveniently timed return trips each day, and we look forward to expanding our daily services as more traffic returns.”
- In July 2021, Billy Bishop Airport achieved certification from the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program, which assesses and validates new health measures and procedures required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force recommendations.
- Billy Bishop Airport is proud of its Safe Travels Program which was introduced to ensure that all necessary precautions and public health protocols associated with air travel are in place. This program is complemented by programs in place with each of its carriers – Porter Airlines’ Healthy Flights program and Air Canada’s CleanCare+ program, and is inclusive of all airport partners including Nieuport Aviation (terminal owners/operators); Stolport (parking) as well as government agencies including CATSA (screening and security) and CBSA (border protection).
- Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – then called Port George VI Island Airport – welcomed its first commercial flight on September 8, 1939. The famed musician Tommy Dorsey and his swing band were aboard that first flight as the band had been invited to play at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). This was also the first airliner from the US to arrive at the island airport.
About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards.
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.