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Questions on airport feasibility

Dear Editor,

Durham Region’s web (discoveringdurham/airports), posted their white paper regarding Pickering Airport.

These studies reference “capacity” 225 times in a 110 page report, based on population, in their business case.

Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan mirrors the rhetoric, citing “10,000 jobs, to offset automotive sector losses.”

No academic/aviation institution (Hong Kong, Sydney, the FAA, Mitre Corporation, MIT, Virginia Polytech or the Greater Toronto Airports Authority themselves) uses population counts to determine an airport’s capacity. Equally so for a web search on the subject. Just as vehicle movements determine road/bridge capacities, so are airports “airside” capacities.

The “landside” capacities of airports (terminals, parking, washrooms) are population dependant. Those are what the layman experiences. That misunderstanding is what these reports endlessly exploit.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority

(GTAA) says of their five-runway airport: “we now expect to be able to meet demand with existing capacity throughout our 20-year planning period.” Re: pages seven and 46 to 53 of the 2017-2037 Master Plan of December 2017.

The GTAA have a sixth runway on the books. They are now mute on whole airport capacity limits, so often mentioned in past reports.

Pickering is a 10-year capital build at a cost of $10 billion, and would, they say, result in a community economic gain of $2.6 billion in 15 years.

Contextually, Toronto Island Airport’s “spin-off” is $2.6 billion annually – today. The Oshawa’s (current spin benefit $70 million) runway is longer than “the Island” and has plans to add 5,000 ft on its’ property.

London, England is of similar length.

Oshawa could reasonably expect to produce a $5.2 billion community benefit in 15 years, starting at zero cost tomorrow.

Mirabel on the Rouge? Durham should submit to a public inquiry. 

Ivan Battye