« Men more likely to cheat if they earn less than partner: study | Main | New service allows investors to rate and review advisors »

October 05, 2021

Air Canada takes a stab at Porter's Toronto island airport monopoly

Finally, cracks in the monopoly are showing.

Following Porter airline’s four-year stranglehold on Toronto’s island airport, Air Canada has made headlines this week after being granted access to shuttle flights in and out of the terminal, which boasts a valuable proximity to the city’s downtown core and business centre.

Yet while the announcement, one that also outlines Air Canada’s intention to begin flights from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport next February, may ring exciting for those flying into, out of and through Ontario’s capital, what we don’t know about the operation is cumbersome.

1193546_photos_at_a_local_airport Still, let’s start with what we’ve been told: Air Canada will initially offer flights only to and from Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport when it begins at the island terminal, and only 15 routes per day.

AC’s island airport flights will be operated by Sky Regional Airlines, which was chosen by Air Canada following a “competitive bid process,” according to the Canadian Business Journal.

And, that’s it. That’s all we know. Nothing yet from the airline on possible fares, domestic route expansions or the opening of flights to the U.S. and beyond.

The question immediately propping to mind, then, is this: will anyone care?

Sure, opening up the faucet to Toronto’s island airport should be great for Air Canada’s bottom line, and it’s fair to assume a flood of business travelers will relish the opportunity to fly in and out of the city’s downtown core instead of commuting to Pearson International, out near the suburbs.

Yet, as has been the case for years now, Porter Airlines flies quite capably in and out of island airport – to Montreal and beyond.

In fact, from Toronto’s downtown terminal, Porter flies to 12 cities in total, including a host of Canadian destinations and Chicago, New York-Newark and Boston on the U.S. side.

Add to that, Porter has a seemingly healthy relationship with its passengers, and faces much fewer “Who runs this company, Satan?”-like customer service complaints that are constantly levied against Air Canada.

So, save for a miraculous dip in fares, will anyone care that AC is now operating out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport?

Travelers: will you use Air Canada to fly in and out of Toronto’s downtown airport now, or will you continue to fly Porter and keep from supporting our country’s largest airline?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...