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Business at the Island Airport has dramatically fallen

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Data from flightaware.com indicates a significant decrease in the number of flights in and out of the Island Airport in 2023 as compared with 2022. It shows 162 flights for October 16, 2023, compared with 177 in 2022.



But of those 162 slots (landings plus takeoffs, five day rolling average), 45 were medevac or private flights, not commercial aviation. Fights by Porter and Air Canada Jazz totalled 112 daily, a reduction of 46% from the peak of 2022.


The market has spoken: the Island Airport’s business has declined drastically, and, with Porter increasingly operating from Pearson, one can reasonably expect it to decline further.

Recall that Porter was awarded 172 slots (landings plus takeoffs) per day by Ports Toronto, and Air Canada 30. At one point, Porter and Air Canada were using them all.


Business at the Island Airport has dramatically fallen since then. Porter is now (assuming October 16 is a normal day for business at the Airport) using 91 of those slots – a decline of 47% from its peak. Air Canada is similar: its flights have decreased by 30%.


Looking the detailed report for the Island Airport for that day, we find this:

​Airline

Destination/ origination

​Arrivals

​Departures

​Total

Porter

Newark

7

7

14

Montreal

7

7

14

Ottawa

9

9

18

Boston

4

3

7

Thunder Bay

5

4

9

Chicago

2

2

4

Windsor

2

2

4

Washington

2

1

3

Halifax

2

2

4

Saint John

1

0

1

Moncton

1

1

2

Quebec City

1

1

2

Fredericton

1

1

2

Sudbury

1

1

2

Timmins

1

1

2

Sault Ste. Marie

1

2

3

Total

47

44

91


​Airline

Destination/ origination

​Arrivals

Departures

Total

Porter totals

47

44

91

​Air Canada Jazz

Montreal

7

6

13

Ottawa

4

4

8

​Jazz total

11

10

21

​Other – private aircraft/ Medevac

Many

​25

20

45


Total

83

74

157 [1]


On October 16, Air Canada was using only 21 of its 39 slots. Porter was using only 91 of its 172 slots.


The 112 total flights are far fewer than the actual flights per day, per or Ports Toronto’s fantasy projections (in its 2019 Master Plan):

Ports Toronto’s Island Airport flight projections from their 2019 Master Plan
Ports Toronto’s Island Airport flight projections from their 2019 Master Plan

This is not the first time we’ve had news that things weren’t going well for Porter or the Island Airport:

  • Back in 2010, Porter abandoned its initial public offering when it had to report accumulated losses as of March 31, 2010 of $44,505,000

  • On December 28, 2018, it told Nieuport, the purchaser of the terminal at the Island Airport that it was reducing its slots to an average of 139.92 per day, and expected a loss for 2018 of $39,650,000 – blaming the popularity of the Union-Pearson Express, and the failure to obtain permission to fly jets from the Island Airport

  • On May 3, 2019, Porter, citing expected 2019 losses of $35M, said it was further reducing its slots to 39.87 daily. That didn’t happen, but the slots today of 91 is well below the reduced number it told Nieuport in 2018.





[1] This varies from that reported by flightaware on its graph as the graph averages over five days.





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