Air Wars

March 2, 2010

From the swirl of traffic that engulfed our post last week about the Toronto Port Authority and Porter Air came this little gem from a blog in Friday’s National Post. Apparently, Air Canada has filed suit against Porter and the TPA in its ongoing battle to resume flying out of the island airport. Blogger Peter Armstrong tsk tsks these strong arm tactics by AC.

To suggest it laughable in the extreme that anyone would portray Porter Air as the ‘David’ in a David and Goliath battle is, in itself, more than laughable in the extreme. Laughable to the infinity only begins to hint at the absolute absurdity of the comparison. The only way that the litigiously prone Porter Air’s Robert Deluce with his friends in high places could be perceived as the ‘David’ in a David and Goliath struggle would be in a struggle with an actual Goliath. And then only if his first name was David rather than Robert.

This story would be exceedingly funny to island airport opponents, drenched in life affirming irony as it is, if not for the ominous implications of the lawsuit. Clearly, Air Canada wants back at the table to fly out of the airport again. The fact that its regional partner, Jazz Air, agreed to buy 15 Bombardier Q400 airplanes in mid-February – Porter Air’s turboprop aircraft of choice – lends credence to AC’s designs. Once a second company is flying out of the island airport how far behind will a 3rd be? Come on down, WestJet!

With that, the dream of shutting down the airport at best or keeping it small, local and for medical emergencies at worst will be dead for those fervent Goliaths who’ve been waging war against the diminutive Davids of Porter Air and the TPA for over a decade now. Airport expansion will take root and there’ll be no turning back. Unless of course, flying out of the airport turns out to be as economically unfeasible as it was for the likes of City Express, Air Ontario and Air Canada Jazz when they all previously operated from the airport.

This whole tale is a head scratching curiosity when considering the state of the airline business in the rest of the world. Europe has been wracked recently with strikes by pilots and air traffic controllers who are battling austerity measures being introduced in the face of continued recessionary pressures throughout Europe and billions of dollars in losses for the airline industry over the last couple years. An uptick in business for the U.S. for airline industry is not causing an outpouring of optimism there.

Yet here in Toronto, it is all systems go with a $50 million dollar expansion in the works on the island and airlines clamoring for space to start servicing it. Should we take this as a sign of a strong economy recovery in the works for us here? Or is it just a corporate pissing match whose only loser is bound to be local democracy?

curiously submitted by Urban Sophisticat