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Porter wants to extend runway farther in expansion bid

Porter Airlines wants to extend its main runway farther into Lake Ontario to reduce noise concerns as it tries to bring jets to Toronto’s island airport.

Porter said in a letter to city officials Tuesday it’s proposing a second option that would add another 32 metres to each end of the runway for a total of 200 metres into the lake on each side.

In April, Porter said it conditionally purchased up to 30 Bombardier CS-100 jets for $2.08 billion and would seek permission to fly the jets out of the island airport where it currently flies Q400 turboprops.

Jets are prohibited from flying at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport under a tripartite agreement between the municipal, provincial and federal governments.

The city launched a review of that agreement in May after Porter’s first proposal to extend its runway by 168 metres into the water on each end.

On Wednesday, a Porter spokesman said the airline expects both options to be considered at the same time during the city review.

“Either scenario is viable and Porter supports either choice,” Brad Cicero told CityNews.ca in an email.

“Both options are also acceptable in terms of sound requirements,” he added. “The 200 metre scenario does allow for use of reduced take-off power, which can make the CS100 even quieter.”

Grassroots group NoJetsTO described the latest proposal as a “bombshell.” The group has said the airport expansion would put water quality, marine flora and fauna at risk. It also said excessive noise, air pollution and traffic would reduce the quality of life for Torontonians.

“Boaters and other lake users will pay the price for [Porter CEO Robert] Deluce turning even more of Lake Ontario into tarmac for his jets,” NoJetsTO chair Anshul Kapoor said in a release.

The latest proposal comes as city officials begin a series of public consultations on the issue.

Residents had a chance to voice their opinions on island airport jets at workshops beginning Wednesday. There is also a town hall meeting slated for Sept.12 at Exhibition Place. Click here for more details.

“I think a lot of young people in this area have recently bought condos around the corner, thinking that the waterfront is going to become this beautiful area we can all live in, and now all of a sudden it’s becoming kind of an airport hub,” Sasha Kovacs said at Wednesday’s public consultation.

City staff will provide the mayor’s executive committee with an update on Sept. 24.