What’s $1 Billion between Friends?

By Wednesday, September 23, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

On September 16, the CommunityAIR blog cited a Toronto Star article, on an Air Canada study that called into question the cost of the proposed Billy Bishop Toronto Centre Airport (BBTCA) expansion.

PortsToronto is undertaking the studies that it hopes will pave the way for expansion.  The expansion is to accommodate the CS100 jets that Porter Airlines has on order with Bombardier.

One would think that threat of a $1 billion price tag would leave the expansion dead in the water and one would expect the project proponent, PortsToronto, to trash the Air Canada study.  Not so.  PortsToronto declined to comment on the report.  Instead, Michael Deluce, son of Porter Airlines president and CEO Robert Deluce, came out swinging.

According to the article, Mr. Deluce, fils, “… scoffed at the consultants’ report, saying it has been specifically to tailor to deliver the results that Air Canada wants.”

Perhaps Mr. Deluce, fils, is familiar with the concept.

  • Perhaps he was thinking of a PortsToronto study that touted the BBTCA economic impact.  PortsToronto commissioned the study.
  • He could have been thinking of the various Ipsos studies designed to hype PortsToronto and the BBTCA.  PortsToronto paid for the Ipsos studies.
  • Maybe he was thinking of the environmental studies Dillon Consulting did for PortsToronto all of which found little or no environmental impact on PortsToronto’s various undertakings.  PortsToronto commissioned the environmental studies.

Derek Vanstone, Air Canada’s vice-president of corporate strategy, government and industry affairs, recalled how the expansion initiative began as a written request from Robert Deluce to then-mayor Robert Ford.

ford_photo_new.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoFormer Mayor Ford, centre, pictured here with some constituents.

“This isn’t a proposal by an airport.  It is a proposal by an airline,” Vanstone said.

Interestingly, it’s an airline that recently turned in a tidy profit from the sale of its BBTCA terminal, upwards of $750 million, and isn’t obligated to pay a cent if the expansion is approved.

Where will the $1 billion come from?

Mr. Deluce, fils, says that the BBTCA Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) will cover the price tag.  The article quotes him.

“Deluce: The current airport improvement fee is $20.  About one-third is going towards paying for the new pedestrian tunnel.  There is more enough (sic) capacity within the current AIF to fund the likely ultimate costs for improvements at this airport.”

Perhaps Mr. Deluce, fils forgot the 7% commission his airline gets for collecting the $20.  So, the $20 becomes $18.60 and the $1.40 per passenger that goes into Porter’s deep pockets doesn’t have to go to airport expansion.   That’s the project that Porter asked for and that the city is jumping through hoops about and which will directly benefit the airline.

Where do these people get off?


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