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Geoffrey A Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Toronto Port Authority, on a small airport that packs a big punch

“A city made for speed

is made for success,” according to architect Le Corbusier. This is as true as ever, though travellers’ needs have changed substantially since the first scheduled commercial flights took to the skies in the early 1900s. Where rail was the transport of choice for over a century, airports have become major connection hubs in what is now a global village.


has experienced annual growth

of 30-35%, and in

2013 we expect to welcome 2.2 million passengers

The fast pace of 21st-century life calls for transport that is efficient, hassle-free and convenient, and that’s what smaller airports right in the heart of cities can offer. Located a stone’s throw from Toronto’s downtown core, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA), is now used by more than 2 million people each year. With the increasing need to facilitate global trade and commerce, airports such as BBTCA are becoming part of the competitive advantage that supports and propels major economic clusters in North America and around the world.

In major cities, airports and air travel have become logistical and economic backbones. BBTCA is an important facilitator of business travel and tourism and a significant contributor to


economic growth in the city, especially for Toronto’s key strategic industries of banking and finance, food processing and film. In 2012, an economic impact study found that the airport generates C$1.9bn in economic output for Toronto and the surrounding area annually, creates and supports approximately 5,700 jobs and adds C$640m to Toronto’s GDP.

All that speaks to a substantial contribution to a very healthy city. Toronto is growing by an average of 150,000 residents each year, and it recently overtook Chicago to become North America’s fourth largest city. Last August, a poll of Torontonians conducted by Ipsos Reid found that 69% believe the airport is an economic engine of the city and 87% feel it is a valuable asset.

BBTCA was built on an island in Toronto Harbour in 1937, and by the late sixties, it was one of the busiest airports in Canada. The development of Pearson International, out in the suburbs, meant that BBTCA was overshadowed, until it became the hub for Porter Airlines’ regional services in 2006.

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