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Island Airport terminal owner Nieuport Aviation launches a "survey".

Isn’t it a too-obvious scheme to secure Airport supporters’ contact info for the upcoming debate on the Airport lands’ future?

The Toronto Island Airport terminal
The Toronto Island Airport terminal

Pity poor Nieuport Aviation.

Having paid in excess of $700M for the Island Airport terminal (What were they thinking?!) to Porter Airlines (that built it for just $50M), it’s facing the serious prospect of losing it all.


Ports Toronto’s Airport’s lease of a key portion of the Airport’s land, owned by the City, expires just ten years away, on June 30, 2033.

If not renewed, the Airport closes, and Nieuport loses its investment.

It’s worse than that.

When Nieuport bought the terminal, it priced its acquisition on projected revenue streams provided by Porter. Those revenue streams diminished when Porter, losing serious money ($18,910,000 in 2017, a projected $40M in 2018, and $30M in 2019) significantly cut the number of its flights from the Airport, complained that Nieuport was charging Porter 3x what Pearson charges, and refused to pay.

Nieuport sued, and last fall won a $131M judgment against Porter. Likely appealed, likely not paid, and certainly no incentive for Porter to want to continue doing business with them.

Meanwhile, as Porter’s business growth at the Island Airport had essentially stalled in 2010.

Porter’s focus on flying jets out of Pearson starts making a lot of sense.

That leaves Nieuport with less and less business, and the real prospect of it ending entirely in ten years.

The fact that Porter, given all the advantages it could hope for at the Island Airport, still couldn’t make money, does not bode well for Nieuport.

Nieuport has found a start‑up airline out of Boston that wants to fly to Toronto – ConnectAir – but its paltry number of destinations won’t replace the business it was doing with Porter.

And there’s no assurance that City Council will renew the lease. Many councillors have already committed to an in‑depth and broadly consultative review of just what uses the Airport lands should be put to post 2033. The extreme shortage of parkland in downtown Toronto strongly suggests parkland could be the preferred use.

In desperation, then, Nieuport is attempting to generate a list of Airport users that it hopes to use in a likely futile campaign for lease renewal by inviting airport users to fill out a survey in Facebook ads. Of course, the survey’s just a ruse – it’s the contact information it needs for that campaign, as their Privacy Policy makes clear – it is to be used, among other purposes “to let you know about campaigns we may be running”.

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