WHERE: Bathurst/Queens Quay
WHAT: CommunityAIR protests Porter's first flight
WHEN: Monday, October 23, 8 am
Porter Airlines should be flying high now that the fledgling company's Tory business friends are running the Toronto Port Authority. But its inaugural flights to Ottawa out of the Toronto City Centre Airport this week were decidedly on the light side. The good news, though, is that the sound of a Porter aircraft taking off couldn't compare with the noise made by 60 CommunityAIR folks blaring trumpets, banging drums and calling for a boycott of the airline whose arrival coincides with renewed talk of expansion plans for the airport.
The group is fighting Porter's plans to fly 10 return trips daily to Ottawa out of the Island Airport, but today the company's shuttle buses circling Bathurst Quay, supposedly loading and unloading passengers, are astonishingly uninhabited -- eight in a 40-minute period carry a total of three passengers. Activists are hoping their ongoing campaign will ensure those seats stay empty.
One of the participants, Anne Christensen , a nearby condo owner, worries about planes trying to navigate the tight confines of the waterfront. They have been known to go down in the bay, she says, although Porter says flight paths are almost entirely over water, away from the city.
Faith King, of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation , says the airport lands occupy what was once a sacred place that native groups want to see protected.
CommunityAIR is preparing to defend itself against a TPA defamation suit scheduled to go before the courts in early December. The org's Bill Freeman says he's counting on a Porter crash-landing, financially speaking. "How can Porter think it can run an airline with three people on a flight?"