Friday, February 17, 2006

Jazz, City Centre and Politics

I'm posting two political stories in a row. Perhaps I'm thinking that once I'm a big-time airline pilot I'll have to keep my mouth shut about such things, so I'm getting it all out of the way now.

The main airport serving the Toronto Metropolitan Area is CYYZ, the Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Like many large international airports, Pearson is not technically located in the city it serves, but rather a $40 cab ride away. Toronto has another airport, located on an island near the city centre. Air Canada Jazz operates a few flights in and out of the island airport, Toronto City Centre, including a direct flight from Ottawa, the national capital.

Plans are always rumoured about the possibility of building a bridge, or a "fixed link" as politicians call it, to connect the island to the city, thereby allowing arriving passengers to drive away from the airport, rather than taking a boat. That hasn't happened yet, but construction of an improved ferry terminal has been announced. Jazz planned to expand service to the island.

The next move in the game was for the Toronto City Centre to give Jazz notice of termination of its lease, cutting off access to the airport. Jazz says it will suspend service to the island airport effective March 1st. It's all a lovely political mess with the port authority, the city, the province, the airline, the airport's new owner and the outraged condo-dwellers all fighting over the amount of traffic and who will make money from it. Not that I'm any different. I look at every news story with a critical eye: does this make it more or less likely that I will get a new job?


Frank Ch. Eigler said...

It is not the airport owner/operator (the Port Authority), but rather the new hangar/building landlord (Robert Deluce's company), that has given notice to Jazz. Apparently Deluce wants to use Jazz's old terminal gate area for himself (Porter Air), after renovations.

Leave it to the Globe & Mail to misinterpret Jazz's involuntary departure as their "hardball move".

david said...

I was worried at first as well, but when I followed up the story from other sources, I found the same thing Frank did.

Jazz was on a month-to-month lease with what used to be the Shell; after receiving notice of termination, Jazz went to the Port Authority at the last second looking for alternative terminal space (apparently they had no contingency plan); unfortunately, the Port Authority doesn't control any significant terminal space at the airport.

The Esso at City Centre is great (that's where I always go, and where Frank hangars his Aztec), but it's too small to be a passenger terminal, even for a Dash 8.

Anonymous said...

You know what I love about the whiners down by the island??... If I'm not mistaken, CYTZ officially opened in 1939 as the Port George VI Airfield.... But, Toronto was building Curtiss Jenny's as early as 1917, and they were flying from the shore, I think. My point?.. anyone who has not been living on the islands for over 83 years should have figured out that moving under an airport might be noisy.

Also, can't say I blame Jazz for leaving there either... it's not as though the city of Toronto has been overly accomodating either. In November 2003, David Miller was elected Mayor of Toronto. One of his major election platforms was a halt of construction of a bridge to the TCCA and expansion of the airport.

I hope the snobs on the islands are happy. Dh