Sun. Mar 19th, 2023

There are many travellers who, quite understandably, much prefer the ease of departing from downtown’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport rather than from Pearson, which is all the way in Mississauga, if their destination is one of the more than 20 that the hub provides service to.

One of the most popular short-haul flights available from the island airport is to New York City, except that those headed to the Big Apple via this route are only technically able to land in nearby Newark, New Jersey, nearly 30 km away from Manhattan.

But, passengers will hopefully soon be able to land in actual New York in the near future — along with a handful of other new U.S. destinations — thanks to new changes on the Toronto side of the trip.

The island is slated to get a new facility where residents can pre-clear U.S. customs, which will permit them to head to larger airports where pre-clearance is requisite, such as Chicago O’Hare International Airport or LaGuardia Airport in Queen’s, New York City.

Direct flights to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Raleigh and Minneapolis are next on the list by 2025, a new report from the company that owns the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop shows, with traffic through the point expected to increase by millions of travellers per year as a result, along with an additional $4.8 billion boost into the economy annually.

Contingent upon approval from the government, the facility could be open to the public within 18 to 24 months, as soon as mid-2023, and is a top priority at this time, Billy Bishop’s executive vice-president told city officials.

Though the trek from Newark to Manhattan is admittedly extremely easy via the Airtrain and New Jersey transit to New York Penn Station, the convenience of landing in the actual city and of already having cleared customs will appeal not only to Canadians, but also American travellers, and stakeholders believe it has the potential to help drive up Toronto tourism.

(Taking public transit from Newark airport to New York’s Penn Station also usually takes about an hour; nearly as long as the short the 1.5 hour flight from YTZ to EWR.)

The new move is part of a planned $69 million investment into new infrastructure at the airport, and on its own is estimated to cost around $20 million before operating costs, per the Star.

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