The operations of the Island Airport is governed by the Tripartite Agreement signed in 1983 and running for 50 years. The signatories are The Toronto Port Authority, the Department of Transport and the City of Toronto. The operator of the airport is the Port Authority.

These are the major conditions of the Tripartite Ageement:

  • No jet aircraft are permitted to operate on the island with the exception of medical evacuations, other emergencies and the CNE air show.
  • No fixed link from the mainland to the airport
  • All aircraft are to have STOL capabilities
  • Flights can only leave between 6:45 a.m. and 11 p.m., barring emergencies
  • No aircraft making excessive noise is permitted. No additional runways or runway extensions shall be constructed.

All five of these major conditions of the agreement have been violated in some way.


Jets are still not permitted but the Port Authority is now supporting Porter’s proposal for jets and the extension of the runways by doing the engineering work and conducting an EA on the runway lengthening. Most medivac flights are not emergencies, but rather simple transfer of patients or transporting medical equipment or donations.

No Fixed Link

The Toronto Port Authority has approved and paid for a pedestrian tunnel while at the same time saying it is not a fixed link. (“If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a duck.”)


STOL, or Short Take-Off and Landing, is defined as commercial aircraft having the ability to take-off at a 6% angle.

The Q400, used by both Porter and Air Canada at the Island Airport, can only take off at a 5.5% angle. Both the TPA and Transport Canada do not claim that the Q400 has STOL capabilities. They say that because the Q400 is a “derivative” of the Dash 8 and the Dash 8 has STOL capability, it is therefore, permitted. (That is like calling a lion a turkey. Turkeys can fly and therefore lions can fly.)


There have been several times when Porter planes have broken the curfew by arriving after 11:00 p.m. at the Island Airport. The TPA is required to fine planes that violate the curfew. We have no knowledge that Porter has ever been fined for curfew violations.


Noise from aircraft at the Island is a huge problem for residents living on the Waterfront. There are three noise levels specifically mentioned in the Tripartite Agreement that all aircraft are not to exceed. According to noise specifications of Bombardier, the manufacturer of the Q400, this aircraft exceeds the noise levels of two of the three noise level measurements.

To get around this requirement the TPA averages the three levels and concludes that the Q400 is not in violation. The Tripartite Agreement makes no mention of averaging noise levels.

The conclusion of members of CommunityAIR is that the Toronto Port Authority is not enforcing the terms of the Tripartite Agreement that is to govern the Island Airport.

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