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The idea that Pickering and Hamilton don't compete is laughable. Particularly when Mark is purporting that both airfields want to draw/displace traffic from the same place: Pearson.

Even Billy Bishop is competing with Pickering. Would Pickering boosters be happy to see a runway extension and the introduction of jets at YTZ? What would that do to their business case?

Ah, I think I understand the source of your anxiety now. The answer is yes, myself and everyone else that is informed on the transportation shift underway supports building out Hamilton and Billy Bishop.

You will note that I have stated in this forum that this is an all hands on deck issue. We need the extended runway at billy bishop, we need Hamilton to properly identify its capacity constrains and to fix them. We need Pearson to stop screwing around and get it’s transit plans in gear. ( by screwing around I mean it can forget a “ parking replacement fee” on transit riders, like they tried on the UP or asking for billions of extras from the tax payers)
And no this is not taking anything away from Pickering, how could it? Simply look at the passenger catchment areas. The tyranny of geography says it all The issue is the lack of locally accessible capacity. No one in Durham region is driving two hours to Hamilton to get a flight to Sudbury, and vice versa. Once Air Canada at Pearson needs the Sudbury slots for something more profitable, Sudbury and other destinations end up going out of Hamilton at one end and Pickering at the other. Pickering has multiple natural location related advantages that Hamilton doesn’t have but Hamilton doesn’t have to be the same type of airport that Pickering will be.
If Pickering is not open, Travelers are just going to drive to Sudbury, at significant extra green house gas emissions I might add. Hamilton gains nothing.

I have argued and written in support of the runway extension at Billy Bishop. Like many I was disappointed when AirCanada issued a press release arguing against it.


Then I was down right flabbergasted when the Feds got hoodwinked into using its authority to force the Port authority to shelve the extension. This, even though it would be paid for,with airport fees, enable porter to switch to the Canadian made CSeries jets which are quieter, more fuel efficient and emit less GHG per passenger mile than the Q400.

Your anxiety over airport competition is unwarranted. Air Canada on the other hand will loose its opportunity to act as a undisputed king due to its grip on the majority of slots at Pearson. While AC will still have advantages, Porter, and lot of other folks will now have a chance to compete on a leveler playing field.
Welcome to airline industry power politics.
 
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Ah, I think I understand the source of your anxiety now. The answer is yes, myself and everyone else that is informed on the transportation shift underway supports building out Hamilton and Billy Bishop.

You will note that I have stated in this forum that this is an all hands on deck issue. We need the extended runway at billy bishop, we need Hamilton to properly identify its capacity constrains and to fix them. We need Pearson to stop screwing around and get it’s transit plans in gear. ( by screwing around I mean it can forget a “ parking replacement fee” on transit riders, like they tried on the UP or asking for billions of extras from the tax payers)
And no this is not taking anything away from Pickering, how could it? Simply look at the passenger catchment areas. The tyranny of geography says it all The issue is the lack of locally accessible capacity. No one in Durham region is driving two hours to Hamilton to get a flight to Sudbury, and vice versa. Once Air Canada at Pearson needs the Sudbury slots for something more profitable, Sudbury and other destinations end up going out of Hamilton at one end and Pickering at the other. Pickering has multiple natural location related advantages that Hamilton doesn’t have but Hamilton doesn’t have to be the same type of airport that Pickering will be.
If Pickering is not open, Travelers are just going to drive to Sudbury, at significant extra green house gas emissions I might add. Hamilton gains nothing.

I have argued and written in support of the runway extension at Billy Bishop. Like many I was disappointed when AirCanada issued a press release arguing against it.


Then I was down right flabbergasted when the Feds got hoodwinked into using its authority to force the Port authority to shelve the extension. This, even though it would be paid for,with airport fees, enable porter to switch to the Canadian made CSeries jets which are quieter, more fuel efficient and emit less GHG per passenger mile than the Q400.

Your anxiety over airport competition is unwarranted. Air Canada on the other hand will loose its opportunity to act as a undisputed king due to its grip on the majority of slots at Pearson. While AC will still have advantages, Porter, and lot of other folks will now have a chance to compete on a leveler playing field.
Welcome to airline industry power politics.

But you keep spewing that Pickering needs to be done now.

Again, why not first build out Hamilton. Fix it's infrastructure then once it is built out to max capacity, then build Pickering?
 
<Devil's Advocate Mode = ON>

Having some indirect experience in politics (my spouse running for city council) and indirect exposure to aviation being a licensed skydiver myself (Canada Sport Parachuting Association) -- so I can sense that there is a trojan horse factor.

I really don't believe a major international airport "at the outset" makes sense at Pickering, but let's temporarily view this from a general aviation lens / trojan horse lens to have an understanding.

The problem is that Pickering is pigeonholed as an international airport as a proposed/planned one, with mega-sized plan for a mega-sized airport.

The governments/people/citizens are screaming "MIRABEL!" when general aviation is saying "a nice little grass field or private asphalt runway to learn to fly a Cessna, get some hours into my logbook for a job as pilot, and for the public to go for a tandem skydive".

199337


See... Ottawa started small!

I do not see Pickering as an international passenger airport for a long time (heck -- maybe not for 50 to 100 years). But we can look to project the necessity somewhat. There is a kind of a trojan horse factor bringing an airport. Southern Canada being a desirable country geopolitically and geologically (and in an unstable and climate changing world) for the remainder of the 21st century (if there's no civilization collapse) pretty much means Canada will probably keep growing in population slowly by about 1% per year. That causes a population doubling every 60-70 years, in compound growth (see 1960s thru today as an example).

The hub musical chairs will happen repeatedly between many airports (e.g. reactivation of Mirabel passenger services later in 21st century is possible, as well as uplift of YHM), likely concurrently with a small Pickering GA.

One is tempted to build a small one soon to stake a bigger one later. Some international airports started out with some general aviation sized runway, and grew from there. You can see the remnants of an old discontinued runway too, from Ottawa airport's early days too as well, where it was replaced by a small runway and a much larger runway.

Pickering, as "advertised" by Wikipedia or Government of Canada (look at those big runways) would be viewed upon as a MIRABEL II which is as toxic as 407 and gasplants scandal. The other Pickering -- a tiny asphalt runway to skydive from or learn to fly a Cessna -- doesn't sound scandalous.

Repackaging Pickering as a privately-funded GA airport for smalltime use
  • Private funding only to begin with & non-scandalous sized
  • Pilot training. Cessnas, Pipers, etc
  • Recreational activities (gliding, skydiving, etc)
  • Drone and Hobbycraft competitions
  • Etc.
Then possibly expand to include:
  • Small electric aircraft innovation/businesses (Note: I actually wouldn't mind minor tax incentives towards this portion)
  • Aviation-focussed in the Seaton employment lands
  • Expanded GA activities
  • Small air taxi services
Then finally even think about passenger services.

There's a lot of room to locate the tiny runways at the periphery of the big proposed runways that don't need to be built yet -- lots of surrounding lands for some smaller GA runways that won't interfere with future Pickering mega-runways. As you can see in the Ottawa airport history too.

Some creativity might be needed or special branding (employment lands? electric aircraft world championships? other pull), or whatever pull to specialize the small Pickering GA to a clean 21st century. Then after that, we can begin talking passengers.

Not the stupid MIRABEL sized plans still in dusty filing cabinets or the current "Proposed International Airport" status right from the start. Every time Pickering comes up, it comes as a grander plan than it should be.

So my opinion:

The problem is Pickering has typecast-branded itself as something viewed unfavourably by the public (boondoggle words like "407", "gasplant", "Mirabel", "ORNGE" etc). I don't care how successful Mirabel is for non-passenger uses nowadays, the problem is Mirabel is still viewed as a boondoggle by a huge many. Not even a $100M advertising campaign will un-boondoggle the word "Mirabel" for the screaming mad taxpayer that's angry at "all these scandals" (regardless of party/province/government who initiated such scandal).

Mirabel a success? Boohoo. Explain that to the voters. It's your campaign money. Sorry. Mega money was spent already in Montreal (to great difficulty) to save-face Mirabel to Montreal voters and prop it up for years.. Now you're asking Toronto voters to view Mirabel a success? Voters will be asking you why you're campaigning in Toronto as an apologist for Montreal. Especially if your competing candidate campaigns on using subsidzed Uber as transit (like Innisfil did). Or campaigning on a new freeway. Or campaigning on upgrading Pickering GO station connections. Or campaigning incentives to attract new big businesses to Pickering. Choose your favourite campaign issue. Etc. So much easier & cheaper candy (municipally, provincially, federally) to campaign on in Pickering. Instant loss of votes, not enough voters for an expensive tax-funded Pickering International Airport. The irony: ouch. There's too much easier honey to offer elsewhere in elections of Pickering-resident-interest (and even GTHA-interest) than a Pickering airport, at least for the next 25 years minimum. Tough luck, buddy, for taxpayer-funding Pickering anytime soon.

The problem for Pickering advocates, IMHO, is Pickering is typecast-doomed, to the point it's going to be a nonstarter until the kettle explodes (in whatever-25-50-100 years from now) then Pickering will finally be panic-built as a taxpayer-funded International Airport from the start. Freeways and transit only get panic built in Toronto once pressures become so intense and the kettle explodes.

An exploding kettle is when many voters prefer to spend taxpayer money on Pickering than on roads/transit/etc, and starts voting for governments to that priority. I think that for Pickering, the kettle certainly has not exploded yet and may take a long time (25-50-100yr) before that happens.

Figuring out how to un-typecast Pickering down to a sensible tiny starter private-funded GA airport, is key.

</Devils Advocate Mode>
 

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Next generation airliners like the 321LR/XLR now make it possible for several of those cities to be served directly by a European carrier from their hubs with 180-200 seats. Norwegian's jaunt in Hamilton is the first of many. But they aren't a network carrier.

I expect in the coming years to see Aer Lingus (now owned by IAG) launch narrowbody transatlantic service to Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and maybe Hamilton.
Montreal was supposed to start from Dublin on August 8 but aircraft deliveries have not been coming at the expected rate.
 
But you keep spewing that Pickering needs to be done now.

Again, why not first build out Hamilton. Fix it's infrastructure then once it is built out to max capacity, then build Pickering?

Because, unless we cut a lot of corners, Pickering will take 10-15 years to build.

Interesting choice of words by the way.
 
Because, unless we cut a lot of corners, Pickering will take 10-15 years to build.

Interesting choice of words by the way.

So, a fully built out Hamilton will not reduce the congestion enough to allow a 10-15 years build? Denver Airport was built in under 10 years.... Why would it take so long to build Pickering? (Denver has a worst winter than the GTA....)
 
So, a fully built out Hamilton will not reduce the congestion enough to allow a 10-15 years build? Denver Airport was built in under 10 years.... Why would it take so long to build Pickering? (Denver has a worst winter than the GTA....)
The estimate:
A06D1207-E74B-4652-9EC7-FC6C849DAF02.jpeg


Politicians would love to kick a hard decision like building the airport down the road. But projects of this size take time and time is the one thing we do not have.

Once Pearson fills, both Hamilton and Pickering need to be ready. If only Hamilton is ready then the citizens and economy of the eastern GTA are going to be choke on the lack of access to aviation.
 
The estimate:
View attachment 199350

Politicians would love to kick a hard decision like building the airport down the road. But projects of this size take time and time is the one thing we do not have.

Once Pearson fills, both Hamilton and Pickering need to be ready. If only Hamilton is ready then the citizens and economy of the eastern GTA are going to be choke on the lack of access to aviation.

Sounds like we need another contractor who can do everything faster. 13 years is not acceptable when one can be built much faster.

See. to a layman, such as myself, nothing about this airport makes much sense.
The demand doesn't make sense.
The costs don't make sense.
The timeline doesn't make sense.
The location doesn't make sense.
The business model doesn't make sense.

I am not trying to be rude or mean. I am not trolling. I am simply trying to understand how this will not turn into Mirabel.
 
You will note that I have stated in this forum that this is an all hands on deck issue.

All based on your flawed analysis that passenger demand will continue to grow at 2.5 million annually.

Again I ask, how much of that demand is organic/local to the GTA and how much is basically industrial activity from Air Canada growing its hub. Looks to me like the vast majority is not from GTA residents flying more but from Americans flying more through YYZ. The question then becomes is why should taxpayers donate a billion dollars worth of land and spend hundreds of millions, if not a billion on additional infrastructure all to facilitate the growth of AC at YYZ, when AC has other hubs (notably YUL) they can grow their business at.

You argue that there’s all this demand locally. Prove it. Because right now all I see is AC bragging about how much they are growing transborder-transatlantic traffic and airlines like Norwegian can’t even sustain an LCC flight to Hamilton and Swoop is cutting dozens of flights a week. All while we’re not even in a recession yet.

Simply look at the passenger catchment areas. The tyranny of geography says it all The issue is the lack of locally accessible capacity. No one in Durham region is driving two hours to Hamilton to get a flight to Sudbury, and vice versa.

And nobody from Hamilton or Mississauga is driving 2 hrs to north Durham. Something you keep ignoring. So really this is a play to split the catchment at about Yonge Street. With that in mind, Pickering looks like it has a smaller and substantially lower yielding passenger catchment. Business traffic will have YTZ and YYZ. And the wealthier folks in the west end won’t be spending 2 hrs to get to Pickering. So airlines are going to be clamouring to service folks who want to pay $400 for round-trip trans-Atlantic? And that justifies a multi-billion dollar subsidy from the feds?

Then I was down right flabbergasted when the Feds got hoodwinked into using its authority to force the Port authority to shelve the extension.

You’ll be even more surprised when Bob Deluce shows up all pissed off that the feds canned his small runway extension and they are going to give you guys a billion dollars worth of land and another billion in local infrastructure investments.

He won’t be the only one. All those wealthier west end residents and businesses are going to be asking where the billion bucks is for Hamilton too.

I’ve always said the best pitch was to make a case to replace YTZ, YKZ and YOO. And plan a shorter runway and smaller terminal that would enable an airline like PD to relocate and grow, with some additional LCC traffic. That was a plan that was easily sellable and a win-win all around. Instead, you want to advocate for a massive $3 billion fantasy. Shoot for the stars I guess....
 
Now here's an excuse to extend any of the rapid transit lines in Scarborough to serve a Pickering Airport. If there will be a Pickering Airport in the next century, they'll have to have a rapid transit line serving it. Maybe GO trains as an alternative?

Rapid transit rail lines are serving Canada's airports, now and in the future

See link.

Planning an airport without a rapid transit connection is lunacy in this day and age. Traffic is increasing in most cities. Carbon taxes are kicking in, making driving more expensive. Parking costs at all those airports are going up. Add it all up and rail transit to the airports are becoming more and more important.
 
I don't see PD relocating to Pickering. Downtown is a USP for their business model and aircraft type.
 
I don't see PD relocating to Pickering. Downtown is a USP for their business model and aircraft type.

They will if they are told that YTZ is going to be closed in conjunction with Pickering opening up. And yes that means a change of business model. Maybe Pickering can offer them exclusivity as the Canadian network carrier in the airport.
 

From what I know, it is more than an order of magnitude likelier that Canada will announce HFR or HSR funding than a new major international airport and make sure that is fully constructed (not cancelled) before the airport begins construction.

Throw in HFR construction delays, and there's your earliest-possible bounds. Because of that, I think the window is closer to 50 years (e.g. announcement in 30-35 years from now) if it is the Mirabel technique ("taxpayer funded bootstrap directly to an International Airport") route.

Soooo.....if it's the "straight to International Status" route:
Here my opinion of the accelerated route:

-- I do not think a paper announcement by the Feds will come before 2020s
-- I do not think full EAs will finish before the late 2020s, more likely the 2030s
-- I do not think genuine shovels will begin before the late 2030s or early 2040s
-- I do not think procurement will occur right after EA, there will be political flipflopping, NIMBYs, cons-vs-libs, climate agreements putting fistcuffs on govt administrations, and other factors etc.
-- Add construction procurement delays + politics delays + construction delays
-- Stretched out, naturally, this squarely puts it in my window of rough "25-50-100" window -- aka ~2045 absolute earliest possible instead of ~2032.

Now more realistic rather than accelerated, is more like a 50 year timeline rather than barely 25 year.

Ignoring the privatized 407 (the one that many says is a boondoggle) -- the government-owned 407 East extension is taking nearly 15 years from EA start to finish. The route analysis was done in early 2000s and EA was completed in 2007

There's just too many weak links to politically torpedo easily. Inflate the EA beach ball, and you will get mega brick walls pop up to bounce that beach ball back for another decade or two -- e.g. as simple as an election change of administration, as it is unlikely all major parties will simultaneously agree on full-throttle Pickering. There are currently so many easy cheap domino to delay a fully international Pickering a large number of years -- whether it's a preferred candy -- or whether it is a political opponent.

One could could could easily bet their mortgage on the 25 year window for the first flying commercial passenger (who paid on Expedia, Travelocity, etc, rather than paid for an airtaxi) and win their retirement savings. Hell, the odds for a 50 year window looks really damn good too. However, the 25 year window is an easy shoo-in.

Instead of going a route (near-Mirabel sized plan) that voters/governments currently balk at for a long time to come -- why not start it out as a sensibly sized GA airport with a flagship business or two (e.g. electric aircraft research or whatever).

199410


Heck, electric GO trains were EA'd in the 1970s and the GO RER isn't built yet -- we're getting closer (ETA: 2028 for first electric GO trains, thanks Ford).

And we were going to get an LRT in Hamilton in the 1970s -- it was fully funded. We finally are getting our LRT albiet over a different route, it is much further along: demolitions and early works have started already, but we're also cognizant of what happened to the Eglinton Subway which was even further along and actually began construction in the 1990s (the initial tunnel got filled in during the 1990s when cancelled).

Now it's only now that all parties (blue, red, orange, green) are all pro-GO-expansion. So GO is expanding no matter what party. But we haven't reached that exploding-kettle status where all parties are pro-Pickering. EA windows are bigger than 4 year political terms and and often the planning takes more than 2 terms too.

And the new subway under Queen Street was first proposed in 1911 as an underground streetcar. It is now Relief Line / Ontario Line = naming and architecture is still being tweaked as a political football even as it gets ever closer to reality.

There are no current mega-events (Olympics, Expo) within the timelines of Pickering Airport that is also near enough to Pickering Airport to be worth our while, and the appetite of the world in funding mega-events is at a near all-time low after the ghost stadiums (Greece, Sochi, Rio, etc). Mirabel was rammed through partially thanks to the '76 Olympics. So the build-pressure is weaker and the antibuild-pressure is stronger (and very easy for a little-person candidate to fund a campaign on) to at least even torpedo a few-year delay into the mix. Rinse and repeat at every stage, and it is all but assured of the 25+ year guaranteed earliest.

(...I can go on forever...)

Yes, the land is protected for it and may someday become Pickering International Airport -- but it's really truly a 25-50-100 window.

Oh, and the magical thing about population growth is it makes roads congested, creating funding pressures for transit well before funding pressures for airports. We have no more room to widen 400 series anymore.

And guess what: A single GO train carries 2000 people: That's one hour worth of cars on one lane (1 car every 2 seconds is 1800 cars per hour. There are 3600 seconds in one hour). Do the math. One GO train = One hour of freeway lane. Or a quick series of subway trains over a 5-10 minute period. So you get more population, you need to upgrade corridors to mass transit, it's just a numbers game.

And a growing population = pressure for transit funding that will eat up capital long before funding a Mirabell sized airport. Say hello to challenger politicans that will easily torpedo any pro-airport candidate campaign money. I've napkinmathed population growth patterns (suburban-league, urban-league, even Pickering sprawl-league), and all the numbers favour transit dominos falling before Mirabel-airport-sized dominos.

Even at the current growth of the region becoming slightly accelerated from a booming Toronto downtown, the 25 year is a generously optimistic accelerated timeline for a large commercial passenger airport, pretty much guaranteed, to the mortgage-betting proportions (aka almost no odds of it happens 24 years or sooner). I would be saying all the above regardless of whether I am pro-Pickering or anti-Pickering. This is just how things work.

And one thing that happens with denser regions is that regional transit tends to get upgraded -- which helps with load-spreading between airports. And retards medium-distance flight growth (e.g. loss of near-distance domestic passenger growth offset by more profitable long-haul growth.) For example, VIA HFR can fling passengers between Toronto and Ottawa in just a mere 3 hours (Toronto-Ottawa and Montrea-Quebec will be more than an hour faster, even tough Toronto-Montreal isn't much faster). This can eliminate quite a few flights between Toronto-Ottawa, relieving domestic air passenger growth to be recycled for more profitable long haul passenger growth. Aviation will keep growing, but the way dominoes fall is that growth will not be as rapid as projected because of all the chessboard being scrambled around by the changes to transit/transportation. Not everyone will shift to the train, but there will be fewer reasons to fly 1-hour flights in a transit-upgraded region accelerated by Paris II pressures and other politics.

A perfect execution = 25 years earliest, almost guaranteed. By advocates and governments (and successful defense against challengers) will potentially successfully barely pull off commercial flights within the 25 year window -- while an imperfect execution will very realistically push it even further out. Whether it's a Paris II or III agreement causing HSR announcements, or a government switchover that holds the brakes, or some administration lazily sits on an EA being wimpy about funding announcement, or a different administration getting cold feet from anti-Mirabel pressure, or a major Canadian recession / property market crash, or some unexpected population growth slowdown, etc.

So 50 years could be an easy bet, not just 25. Even a size somewhere in between GA and Mirabel (a London, Ontario sized mostly domestic airport that's barely international) will simply serve to accelerate a probable 50 years into 25 years.

Thus, for any Pickering Airport advocate wanting to accelerate Pickering, it is easiest to scale back Pickering Airport into a GA -- closer to approximately what I described above.
 
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About the timing on Building Pickering Airport:

It’s great that many here have expressed an opinion on what airport capacity is in Toronto. And yes I understand that opinion is a personal judgement, and that it is ok for it to be based on believe rather than fact.

No doubt many have picked up on the opinions of others and used this plus information picked up second hand from posts here and elsewhere.

As you can tell, I have an opinion of my own on the need for new aviation Capacity.

In my case I follow the recommendations of the two multi million dollar capacity studies done by experts in the last 9 years.

The first is the 2010 GTAA study , recommending the opening of Pickering Airport between 2027 and 2037. The second is the KPMG study undertaken in 2016-2018, after Dr Gary Polonskys report on the Pickering lands made an updated capacity study one of his recommendations.

The KPMG study is now finished and sitting on the desk of the minister of transport. Due to the lengthy delay we know now it is recommending the immediate green light for Pickering Airport.

Find out more here:

https://pickeringairport.org/next-step-in-building-pickering-airport/

At this point , if you are going to stop the bus, it will need a bit more than wishful thinking, personal opinion or a notion that it might somehow distract from other badly needed projects such as VIA Rails HFR project ( which I also support, and VIA in particular will actually benefit from a new airport opening )

That said, the new airport in Sydney Australia took 10 years to build, and they where in a hurry, so we will hit Capacity before Pickering opens. And yes running out of capacity is going to be painful and expensive , and the congestion will add millions of tons of unnecessary emissions to our country’s carbon footprint.
 

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