TORONTO — The owner of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is looking for a private sector investor to operate the downtown island airport as the industry continues to struggle from the impact of COVID-19.
PortsToronto issued a request for interest Tuesday, a step toward potentially identifying a financial investor to run the airport under lease.
The government agency says the move is designed to reduce the airport’s overall debt, enhance liquidity enabling infrastructure investment and ensure the airport’s long-term viability.
The selected investor would need to maintain the organization’s commitment to a managed-growth approach to the airport, including investments to make it among the greenest and quietest airports in the world.
PortsToronto would retain oversight of the airport as a member of the Tripartite Agreement with the City of Toronto and the federal government.
A request for proposals could be issued later this year in consultation with the two other levels of government.
“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,” stated CEO Geoffrey Wilson.
“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.”
Completed in 1939, the airport named after a First World War flying ace was Canada’s ninth-busiest airport and the sixth-busiest serving the U.S. in 2019.
However, the airport’s runways have gone silent since March 2020 while major operator Porter Airlines has suspended operations due to the pandemic, with a current restart date slated for May 19, 2021.