A review of the KPMG Aviation Sector report on the future of the Pickering lands once again makes a strong case for the development of a modern, 21st century airport; designed to meet growing demand in the eastern Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario, as a whole.
“We have an opportunity to make Canada’s newest airport a model of sustainability; built with renewable materials and a shared space that supports our agricultural community,” said John Henry, Durham Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “This is our chance to show leadership, creating an airport that is designed with the smallest possible carbon footprint and the biggest possible impact on our economy and quality of life.”
Last week, Transport Canada released its KPMG Aviation Sector Analysis, which confirmed that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) needs a new airport in 2036. In the past 20 years, international air travel for Canadian airports has more than doubled (up 108 per cent).
The report recommended that the Pickering Airport Lands could be used for services, such as:
Passenger airport: Allowing air carriers to provide domestic point-to-point air service (travel within Canada), since domestic passenger traffic for all Canadian airports grew by 53 per cent from 2000 to 2015.
Aviation-related services: Airports provide connectivity, which means they attract companies in aviation, aerospace and related services and industries.
E-commerce/cargo: Supporting air cargo services for the GTA—a highly-desirable option for e-commerce firms that might be considering expansion operations within the GTA. It’s also an area that has seen significant growth in recent years, in part due to affordable and high-frequency air transportation.
The report looked at five options for the federally owned Pickering Airport lands, which were set aside more than 46 years ago (in 1972) for airport development. With a complex planning cycle for such a large and complex infrastructure project such as an airport, planning will need to begin now.
“Even with these positive opportunities, commercial developers still are not prepared to make large investments within our regions, without a policy commitment from the federal government. Yet, the positive impacts of this airport go far beyond our borders,” said Henry. “It can reduce travel times for those who live east of Toronto—including those in Peterborough County and points further east—via excellent access to Highway 407 and its connections from highways 412, 418 and 401. This also means Durham residents will spend less time commuting to work and more time in our community—or at home with their loved ones.”
The Region of Durham and the City of Pickering believe this new airport will continue to drive economic development throughout Durham and the entire province. Connected by air, road and rail, this eastern airport will be a hub for innovation and growth for decades to come.