Question: Who are we and why did we decide that we needed an new Airport?
We are pilots, aircraft owners and business owners who need access to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for business or personal reasons.
We realized that, when Buttonville airport closes, we will no longer be able to have access to a secure, predictable, dependable business-friendly General Aviation Aerodrome. When it became obvious that no one else was going to fill this gaping hole in Toronto’s aviation infrastructure, we decided to do it ourselves.
The Officers of the Airpark are all volunteers. Most are also investors who are risking their own money and, in many cases, volunteering a large amount of time to build the Airpark. But don’t confuse us with the Red Cross: this Airpark means business. Its goal is to support our business interests and the business interests of Pickering and Toronto.
Question: Why Pickering?
For years the Pickering lands have been set aside for the time when Toronto would need additional aviation infrastructure. That time is now.
Question: Why not let the GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) handle this?
The GTAA has made it clear that it is interested only in maximizing the value the one airport it currently manages (Pearson) and sees other airports as competition. Who can blame them? Other airports operators, including Peterborough, Oshawa, Simcoe regional all want a piece of Pearson’s action. They would also like to shut each other down, regardless of the greater good. Short of creating a new Greater Toronto Port authority ( the solution New York city used to solve this problem), none of these operators should be expected to support the creation of a new airport.
Perhaps Adam Smith said it best: ” Monopoly of one kind or another, indeed, seems to be the sole engine of the mercantile system”
Question: Will this hurt the environment?
No! the opposite is true!
A new regional airport in Pickering will reduce GHG (Green House Gas ) emissions in two ways that the congested Toronto Pearson airport cannot.
First, it will reduce fuel consumption and the associated GHG emissions by enabling Toronto Pearson to have a homogenous, faster traffic flow.
Pickering Airport will balance the traffic loads by offloading specialized traffic (police, medical, business, private, broadcasters, etc.) from Toronto Pearson consumer based commercial traffic. This will allow for higher approach speeds for larger aircraft using Toronto Pearson airport. By moving smaller and slower traffic to a new Pickering Airport, the operational efficiency of larger aircraft using Toronto Pearson will improve.
How much fuel are we talking about? A large aircraft in level flight will burn up to three times the fuel with its flaps out and gear down than it does in a clean configuration. With hundreds of flights arriving and departing Toronto Pearson every day, saving even a 100 liters of fuel per flight will add up to millions of liters saved annually.
The second way that the Pickering Airport will improve operational efficiency is by enabling the use of new digital navigation technology called RNP (Required Navigational Performance). RNP is a more precise form of an optimized descent profile and can reduce both an aircraft’s fuel consumption and noise pollution. Use of this technology is problematic at Toronto Pearson until it cleans up its traffic flow, but thanks to Pickering Airport’s location and lower volume, aircraft will be able to fully utilize this new fuel saving navigation technology.
Question: Will this hurt our Food or Water Supply?
No, again the opposite is true! The airpark is expected to utilize 165 acres initially( only 75 acres of built out), and grow to about 400 acres over time. This is less than 10% of 5000 acres of land currently set aside for development. The rest of the land can continue to be utilized for farming, but with a certainty around land use in place this farming can grow beyond the short term cash crops currently being grown.
Today, much of the Pickering lands are being drained of their nutrient value by being farmed for corn ethanol rather than food. It is far more efficiency, and can provide more net food for human consumption by replacing the corn ethanol crop with a new efficient regional airport.
WestJet Flight Operations estimates that utilizing RNP approaches at Kelowna and Abbotsford airports, it is saving 265,000 and 285,000 liters respectively of fuel annually with just a handful of daily flights. This translates to a reduction of 677 and 728 metric tons of GHG emissions each year. To put this another way, with the production of corn ethanol running 1500 to 2000 liters per acre, that’s more fuel saved at each of these airports by just a couple of digitally enhanced daily flights than could be grown in corn ethanol on the paved land used for those airports. Corn ethanol is a cash crop currently grown on a large part of the Pickering Airport lands today, and both Abbotsford and Kelowna airports are larger than the proposed Pickering Airport.
Question: Is there no other alternative?
With the new highway 407 extension, Oshawa is now ( barely) inside Toronto’s passenger catchment area. Oshawa Airport (God bless them) has already build-out as much as possible to support an influx of Buttonville traffic and has come up short. The city has decided not to extend its runway or open the south side of the airport to development for political reasons as is their right. Oshawa is now able to handle about 50% of the Buttonville business aircraft. If Oshawa’s city council reversed its decision and extended the runway and cancel the noise restrictions on the south side of the field they could take additional traffic, but even then would never be able to accommodate even part of the expected growth over the next few years.
Toronto Billy Bishop airport has similarly had its runway extension cancelled and has a jet ban in place for political reasons. Its ramp is currently full with no long term room to even park single engine Cessna. Despite these restrictions Porter Airlines is running a world class airline out of Billy Bishop, providing one of the most economical and carbon foot print friendly services available to Toronto Travelers. Imagine what they could do with the new C-series jets operating out of a new regional airport in Pickering?
Simcoe regional, Kitchener/Waterloo, Hamilton and Peterborough are all outside of Toronto’s traffic catchment area ( each is more than a hour drive from Toronto in normal traffic, more than 2 hours in rush hour traffic).