PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport), an urban airport in the heart of Toronto, released a Request For Interest (RFI) as part of a preliminary step to identify a financial investor for the airport.
This initiative is exploratory and is intended to inform a comprehensive study of possible options available to PortsToronto to support the airport infrastructure as a critical transportation asset.
The process initiated by the RFI endeavours to identify a financial investor that would be interested in operating the airport under lease, and is being undertaken in an effort to reduce PortsToronto’s overall debt position, restore, and enhance liquidity; enable ongoing and future infrastructure investment; and, ensure the airport’s long-term viability.
The RFI is also predicated on a desire by PortsToronto to identify a financial investor that would maintain the organization’s commitment to a managed-growth approach to the airport that ensures balance within the community, and executes upon the airport’s recent Master Plan that endeavours to make investments to make Billy Bishop Airport among the cleanest, greenest, and quietest airports in the world.
“It is incumbent upon PortsToronto – as owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport – to explore options to manage risk and enhance liquidity in a manner that allows PortsToronto to fulfil its mandate, support Toronto’s economy, and ensure that the airport continues to serve as an asset,” said Robert Poirier, chair of PortsToronto.
“This RFI will inform a strategic evaluation of opportunities regarding the airport by effectively extending the existing and successful P3 structure we already have in place with several key concessions at the airport. Importantly, PortsToronto will remain the signatory to the Tripartite Agreement, with the City of Toronto and the federal government, and as such will retain oversight of the airport and maintain control over such areas as slots, safety and environmental sustainability.”
Should PortsToronto choose to pursue this concept further, the process will progress to a Request for Proposal (RFP) later this year in consultation with the City of Toronto and the federal government including Transport Canada.
“The last year has had a profound impact on many businesses and has necessitated innovative approaches to overcome the challenges at present and in future. We believe that undertaking a process now that may provide options for PortsToronto to secure a financial investor will enable the airport to come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger,” said Geoffrey Wilson, chief executive officer of PortsToronto.
Prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Billy Bishop Airport offered service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks. Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards. Commercial service at the airport was temporarily suspended in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
For more than a century, PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.