Pickering Airport Facts and Considerations

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Why build a new airport now?

In 1972, with praiseworthy farsightedness, the Canadian Government set aside thousands of acres of land just east of Toronto for a future airport. Since then, this billion-dollar public land reserve has been leased out to local farmers by Transport Canada.  It has been waiting for the day when Toronto’s booming growth would dictate the need for additional aviation capacity.  According to aviation experts and multiple studies, including the 2010 needs assessment and a new report from KPMG, that day has arrived. 

FACT: Local support for a new airport is strong

In 2018 the Mayor of Pickering, the Honourable Dave Ryan, made building the airport part of his election campaign platform. He won by a landslide. The chair of Durham Region and the majority of local councillors elected also made building the airport part of their election platforms. To fulfill these campaign promises, Durham Region and the City of Pickering are promoting building the airport.

FACT: Pearson Airport is now capacity-constrained according to GTAA CEO Howard Eng.  Yearly passenger numbers are greater than those projected by the 2010 needs assessment that called for the new airport to open 2027-2037.

FACT: The tyranny of geography has the only airports with room to grow in Hamilton and Waterloo hours away from the eastern Toronto area. 

Consider: The Toronto region’s booming growth will add 2 million more residents by 2031, (source: Growth Plan for Greater Golden Horseshoe 2017).

FACT: The Development of Pickering Airport takes time. The earliest the new airport could open is 2028 and it could take up 2034, 15 years to fully buildout (Urban Strategies).

FACT: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that the number of passengers worldwide will double to 8.2 billion by 2037.  

Consider: Toronto’s booming growth, improving aviation technology and efficiency are combining with consumer trends to make aviation the cornerstone of long distance travel in Canada and across the world.  

Consider: Pickering Airport can be built and run with private capital utilizing a Public Private Partnership. The new Airport Authority will lease the airport lands from the Canadian Government, build and run the new airport. For example the GTAA ( Greater Toronto Airports Authority ) paid $173 million to rent Pearson airport in 2018.

Consider: Pickering Airport will reduce aviation noise pollution for millions of Canadians . It will reduce aircraft noise by removing the pressure to increase flights (especially at night) into urban-locked Pearson Airport. Approach paths into Pickering are partly over parkland and green space. 

Prediction: The new airport will become Durham Region’s new economic engine. It will create up to 50,000 Jobs and add tens of billions of dollars a year to Ontario’s GDP by 2043 (source Urban Strategies Inc.)

Consider: Freedom of movement is a right in Canada, not just for the rich. The new airport will improve access and reduce the pending aviation infrastructure crunch that could send Toronto travel costs soaring.

FACT: Pickering Airport will have Canada’s 5th largest passenger catchment area. Today 2.3 million people already live within a 30km radius of the new airport (Stats Canada).

Consider: Pickering airport will improve flight safety. Air travel is the safest mode of transportation in Canada, but as congestion builds the pressure is on to cut corners to increase capacity at Pearson and Billy Bishop airports. The new airport removes this pressure.

Consider: Pickering Airport will help fight global warming in three ways:

First: locally-accessible aviation capacity will reduce both aviation and road congestion at Pearson Airport.  It will reduce commute times and distances for millions of passengers. Reducing the excess fuel burn on the ground and in the sky reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Second:  for a solo traveler, flying is a more efficient mode of travel than driving any distance in Canada beyond a few hundred km. Replacing a 500-kilometre road trip with an airline seat increases aviation greenhouse gas emissions but lowers overall emissions when travelling long distances. For example, an Airbus 220-300 can consume less than 2 litres per 100km per passenger seat. That is less than 25% of the fuel burned by the average Canadian car and it produces 1/3 of the emissions.

Third: aviation is in the midst of a technology revolution. It is becoming the world’s greenest mode of travel. In the not-too-distant future, with electric powered aircraft, imagine zipping on electrons at 800 kph direct to your destinations, without the construction and upkeep of thousands of km of asphalt and rail infrastructure.  But this revolution requires something Toronto doesn’t have enough of — airports!  Let’s fix that! It is time to build Pickering Airport!

The next step is for the Federal Government to issue an Request For Proposals (RFP) that will enable private investors to securely reveal their business plans without tipping their hand to competitors. We have not a moment to lose! Ask your Member of Parliament to get our future airborne!

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