Toronto City Centre Airport

Toronto City Centre Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Toronto/City Centre Airport

type = Public
operator = Toronto Port Authority
city-served = Toronto, Ontario
elevation-f = 251
elevation-m = 77
coordinates = coord|43|37|39|N|079|23|46|W|type:airport
website = []
r1-number = 06/24
r1-length-f = 2,880
r1-length-m = 878
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 08/26
r2-length-f = 4,000
r2-length-m = 1,219
r2-surface = Asphalt
r3-number = 15/33
r3-length-f = 2,780
r3-length-m = 847
r3-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Aircraft Movements
stat1-data = 90,199
footnotes = Sources: Canada Flight SupplementCFS]
Statistics from Transport Canada. [ Aircraft Movement Statistics: NAV CANADA Towers and Flight Service Stations: Annual Report 2007] ]

Toronto/City Centre Airport, (TCCA) Airport codes|YTZ|CYTZ, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is a small airport located on the Toronto Islands. It was opened to aviation in 1939, and was initially known as the Port George VI Airfield after the reigning monarch of the time. Despite its various official names, the airport has always been more commonly known as Toronto Island Airport.

During World War II it was used for air force training by the Royal Norwegian and Royal Canadian Air Forces. Since the war, it has been used for civil aviation, including scheduled airlines. In recent years, the airport has become the centre of controversy between the City of Toronto and community groups wishing to close it down and the Toronto Port Authority which wants to expand its usage.


The airport is built on part of the Toronto Islands, a former peninsula jutting out in Lake Ontario, south of central Toronto. The island airport location was used previously as an amusement park and also was the site of Toronto's first professional baseball stadium. The stadium was the site of Babe Ruth's first professional home run, commemorated by a plaque near the Hanlan's Point docks on the island. After the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team built a new stadium to the north on the mainland, the island site became vacant. In the 1930s, the Toronto Harbour Commission started construction on the airport.

When the airport opened in 1939 as the Port George VI Airfield, it was intended to be Toronto's principal airport; a secondary airport was built in Malton (now part of Mississauga) for use in case of inclement weather. However, these roles quickly became reversed, and the Malton Airport became the main airport, a role in which it continues today as Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The original 1939 wooden frame terminal building is still present and in use although not as a commercial passenger terminal. It is a designated historical site. The only major change to the structure was a change to sloping glass in the control tower to facilitate night operations.

The airport was intended to be connected via tunnel and construction of a tunnel was started in 1935 but was abandoned. Ferry service was inaugurated instead and has operated ever since, across the narrow "Western Gap" channel.

During World War II, the airport was used by the Norwegian Air Force for training. In 1943, the airport was turned over to the Royal Canadian Air Force for the duration of the war. The nearby 'Little Norway Park' is named in remembrance of the Norwegian community around the airport.

In 1983, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Harbour Commission, and the Government of Canada signed a Tripartite Agreement over operation of the Airport. The agreement made provisions for a restricted list of aircraft allowed to use the airport due to noise levels, prohibitions on jet traffic except for MEDEVAC flights and prohibition against the construction of a fixed link between Toronto Island and the mainland. In 1999, the Toronto Port Authority was formed to manage the Port of Toronto, including the Island Airport, which the Authority renamed "Toronto City Centre Airport."

From 1984 until 1991, the City Express regional airline operated at the airport, peaking at 400,000 passengers annually. In the 1990s, Air Canada started operating regional airline service to Ottawa and Montreal. In 2005, the airport recorded about 120,000 flights, down from an historic high of 240,000 in the mid 1960s. About 80,000 passengers used the airport annually. In 2006, Porter Airlines took over the terminal from Air Canada and evicted Jazz. Porter renovated the terminal with upgraded lounges, new food services and electronic check-in terminals. In the fall of 2006, Porter started regional airline service with flights to Ottawa.

Controversies surrounding the Island Airport


Since the late 1990s there has been public debate over the future of the airport, which has required financial assistance from the federal government. The Toronto Port Authority has called for either expansion of the airport to accommodate up to 900,000 passengers annually, or its closure. Their expansion plans call for the increased use of turboprop planes and the construction of a new terminal building, but not the enlargement of airport runways or property.

Local residents formed the community group Community AIR (Airport Impact Review) to oppose expansion on the grounds of increased air and noise pollution, as well as safety concerns, and that the increase in traffic will hamper recent government initiatives to rejuvenate the Toronto waterfront. Proponents, mainly business groups such as the Toronto Board of Trade, point to expansion of the airport as a financial boost for the city's downtown.

Bridge to mainland

The main airline proponent for increasing traffic at the TCCA was and is Porter Airlines, started by Robert Deluce. Deluce's proposal was initially conditional on the construction of a fixed link to the airport. In 2002, the Port Authority made plans to link the island to the mainland by a new bridge to serve expanded services — a Port Authority-sponsored public opinion poll conducted in November 2002 showed that Torontonians supported maintaining the airport (over converting it to a park) by a margin of 63% to 31%. [cite web |url= |title=Support for Toronto City Centre Airport growing] On November 28, 2002, Toronto City Council, led by then-mayor Mel Lastman, approved the amendment of the tripartite agreement to permit a fixed link and the construction of a lift bridge. [Citation |newspaper=Toronto Star |date=June 20, 2004 |pages=pg. B03 |title=A brief history of Toronto Island]

The next year, a municipal election year, saw public opinion change to oppose the bridge. [Citation |newspaper=National Post |title=Hall fails to ignite passion for any cause |date=October 17, 2003 |last=Wanagas |first=Don |pages=pg.A18] In October 2003, a Toronto Star poll listed 53% of residents city-wide opposed the airport bridge, while 36% supported it. [Citation |newspaper=Toronto Star |title=Voters opposed to airport link: Poll ; Star finds 53% of residents reject airport bridge 70% support incineration to deal with garbage |date=October 12, 2003 |pages=pg. A1 |last=Lu |first=Vanessa] Councillor David Miller ran for Mayor on a platform to stop the building of the bridge, a position supported by Community Air and other local community groups. Other mayoral candidates Barbara Hall and John Tory supported the bridge. Despite the bridge being an election issue, the Port Authority continued developing the project, progressing to the point that contracts were signed with major participants (including companies operating from the airport).

On November 10, 2003, Mr. Miller was elected Mayor of Toronto with 44% of the vote. [Citation |newspaper=Toronto Star |title=IT'S MILLER ; City council vet edges out Tory with 44% of vote 'People of Toronto have voted to take back their city' |pages=pg. A01 |last=Lu |first=Vanessa |date=November 11, 2003] While construction workers prepared the construction site, Miller immediately started the process to cancel the bridge project, sparking threats of a lawsuit from the Port Authority. [Citation |newspaper=Toronto Star |date=November 12, 2003 |title=Island airport tops his agenda; Support sought to end bridge deal Workers prepare construction site |last=Gillespie |first=Kerry |pages=pg. A01] The incoming City Council voted 26–18 on December 3, 2003 to withdraw its support of the bridge project [Citation |newspaper=National Post |date=December 4, 2003 |title=New council votes to kill bridge |last=Cowan |first=James |pages=pg. A1] and federal Transport Minister David Collenette announced that the federal government would accept the Council's position on the bridge and withdraw its support.Citation |newspaper=National Post |date=December 5, 2003 |pages=pg. A16 |last=Cowan |first=James |title=Ottawa backs city on bridge]

In January 2004, the federal government would put approval of the project on hold, preventing its construction.Citation |newspaper=The Globe and Mail |date=January 8, 2004|last=Harding |first=Katherine |title=Island bridge sparks $505-million suit|page=A16] Immediately, Deluce would file a $505 million lawsuit against the City of Toronto, claiming that Miller "abused his powers", by threatening councillors, had Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Hydro "interfere with the construction of a fixed link" and lobbying the federal government to "withhold certain permits." The federal government later transferred $35 million to the Port Authority in May 2005 to settle claims arising from the cancellation from Deluce, Aecon Construction and Stolport Corp.Citation |newspaper=The Globe and Mail |title=Ottawa pays $35-million to abort bridge |date=May 4, 2005 |pages=pg. A1 |last=Lewington |first=Jennifer] Compensation terms were not disclosed. Lisa Raitt, Port Authority CEO would be quoted as saying "You will never hear about the bridge again." and "We have been working very hard since December of 2003 to deal with the request of the City of Toronto not to build a bridge, and we are very happy that the matter has been dealt with."Citation |newspaper=Toronto Star |title=Bridge battle finally over; Port Authority settles claim with federal government over scuttled plan Deal puts an end to all controversial schemes for fixed link to island airport |date=May 4, 2005 |pages=pg. B01 |last=Safieddine |first=Hicham |last2=James |first2=Royson] New federal regulations were introduced to ban any future plans to build a fixed link to the airport.

Air Canada Jazz eviction

A further controversy erupted in 2006, when Air Canada Jazz lost access to terminal space at the airport. Jazz had been leasing terminal space month-to-month from City Centre Aviation Limited (CCAL), a private company that was taken over by REGCO Holdings (owners of Porter Airlines). On January 31, 2006 CCAL issued Jazz with a 30-day termination notice.Citation |newspaper=National Post |title=Air Canada suspends its Jazz flights out of island airport for the month of March |date=February 16, 2006|pages=pg.11] Two days later, on February 2, the new Porter Airlines venture was announced. [Citation |title=New island airline faces turbulent takeoff |newspaper=The Globe and Mail |last=Gray |first=Jeff |date=February 3, 2006 |pages=pg. A11] Jazz contacted the Toronto Port Authority on February 3 to find other space. However the Toronto Port Authority did not have any suitable space which Jazz could use [cite web |url= |title=Air Canada Jazz evicted from Toronto City Centre Airport | |date=February 16, 2006 |accessdate=2008-10-01] and on February 15, 2006, Jazz announced a 'temporary' suspension of flights for the month of March. This subsequently became permanent.

Airport data

Airlines and destinations

* Cloud Air (Mortimer's Point, Muskoka [seasonal] )
* Porter Airlines (Chicago-Midway [begins November 12] [cite press release|title=Midway International Airport welcomes Toronto airline Nov. 12|url=|publisher=Porter Airlines|date=2008-10-01|accessdate=2008-10-04] , Halifax, Montréal, Newark, Ottawa, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant [seasonal] )
* Trans Capital Air (non-scheduled airline company and aircraft maintenance)


The airport is operated by the Toronto Port Authority (formerly the Toronto Harbour Commission), which is owned jointly by the City of Toronto and Federal governments. The TCCA is used for regional airline service and for general aviation, including medical emergency flights (due to its proximity to downtown hospitals), small charter flights, and private aviation. There is a seaplane base adjacent to the main airport.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Airfield crash fire rescue and EMS services are provided by the TCCA Emergency Response Service, backed up by Toronto Fire Services and Toronto EMS.


* Runway 08 - AS(TE HI) P1: Runway Identification Lights, High intensity runway, threshold, & end lights, variable 5 settings, Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) for aircraft with eye-to-wheel height up to 3 metres (10 ft).
* Runway 26 - AZ(TE HI)

* Runway 15 -


* ATIS 133.6, Automatic Terminal Information Service
* Ground 121.7, 06:45 to 22:45 hrs. local, daily
* Tower City 118.2, 119.2, 226.5, 06:45 to 22:45 hrs. local
* Emergency Frequency 121.5.
* ATF Aerodrome Traffic Frequency, traffic 118.2, 22:45 to 06:45 hrs local, daily, within Control Zone TO BELOW 2500 ASL
* Arrival Toronto 133.4, 358.1
* Departure Toronto 133.4, 363.8
* VDF 118.2, 119.2, 121.7 limited hours, VHF Direction Finder.
* Emergency Frequency 121.5

Air navigation

* VOT 110.4, VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) receiver test facility
* Non-directional beacon (NDB) GIBRALTAR POINT TZ 257 (NDB power output less than 50 watts)
* Distance measuring equipment (DME) ITZ 110.15 Ch38(Y) N43 37 38 W79 23 58 (antenna elevation 90 m (296 ft) ASL) at aerodrome XTC Localizer, ITZ DME unmonitored when tower closed
* Instrument landing system (ILS) ITZ 110.15 Ch 38(Y), RVR
* Localizer (LOC) XTC 110.15

Mainland access

The only public access to the airport is from the mainland via the Toronto Port Authority ferry, which transports vehicles and passengers from the foot of Bathurst Street every 15 minutes from 5:30 am to midnight. At 121 metres (397 ft), it is reputedly the world's shortest regularly-scheduled ferry route.

The ferry service is operated by the Toronto Port Authority, and is operated by the ferry "TCCA1", which was launched in October 2006 and carries passengers on an upper deck and vehicles below. "TCCA1" replaced an older ferry, "Maple City", which dated from 1964.

The 509 Harbourfront streetcar route serves the intersection of Bathurst Street and Queens Quay, one block north of the ferry dock. A small parking lot is also provided adjacent to the dock.

Tenants and Terminals

There are 2 terminals and several hangers at TCCA:

* Terminal A - old terminal building
* Porter Airlines Terminal
* Hangers 4A - home to MOH and Canadian Helicopters
* Porter FBO Hangers 5 and 6 - home to Porter, Airborne Sensing Corp
* Trans Capital FBO operates a small hanger facility at the northeast end of the airport.

Tenants at TCCA include:

* Cameron Air Service
* CHC Helicopter
* Cloud Air
* Island Air Flight School & Charters
* Porter Airlines
* Trans Capital Air
* (Others listed at the Toronto Port Authority web site)

ee also

* Harbourfront, Toronto
* List of airports in the Greater Toronto Area


External links

* [ Toronto City Centre Airport Homepage]
* [ Toronto Port Authority]
* [ Community AIR]
* [ Friends of Toronto's Island Airport]
* [ Toronto Island Airport Flight School]
*Can-arpt-wx|CYTZ|Toronto City Centre Airport

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