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Toronto council votes to move forward with Porter Airport

City council has voted 29-15 to authorize a staff study of issues around a Porter Airlines request to extend the island airport runway to accommodate jets.

Porter Airlines chief executive Robert Deluce welcomed the Tuesday evening vote and said his company will pay for at least part of the study into aircraft noise, traffic, environmental and other issues.

The work is expected to be done by consultants, with some results to be reported to the July 3 executive committee. City council is expected to return to the issue in November.

The initial studies are estimated at $275,000 and follow-up work is expected to cost $800,000 to $1 million and the city wants the Toronto Port Authority to pick up those costs.

Mayor Rob Ford also welcomed opening the door to expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. He said Torontonians will have a chance to weigh in at the executive committee in July.

“It’s good, it’s a good beginning,” Ford said after the nearly five-hour debate. “It’s going to create jobs, it’s great for tourism.”

Deluce, who was present for the debate, said he was gratified by the strong council support for his plan, announced April 10, that would see Porter fly Bombardier CS100 jets.

“We look forward to moving to the next step and being able to provide some of those new destinations eventually at affordable prices,” Deluce said. “But the study first and hopefully an approval in due course.”