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Poilievre vows to expand Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport, taking pressure off Pearson

Poilievre suggested that building a longer runway, thus allowing larger aircrafts to land, would bring the number of airport guests up to 4.8 million per year.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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Travellers at Toronto's Pearson Airport have been faced with increased chaos, delays, and cancellations as of late, while just a few kilometres away, Billy Bishop Airport sits idly by.

Conservative MP and prime-ministerial hopeful Pierre Poilievre has promised that if elected, he would work to prevent the same situation from happening in the future by expanding Toronto's downtown airport, allowing it to handle more traffic and larger aircrafts.

Poilievre released a statement on Thursday detailing his plan.

"Travel at Pearson is a mess right now," Poilievre began. "There could have been way more flights out of Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto, meaning more competition and more choice.

He blamed "the dreadful gatekeepers," with whom Justin Trudeau sided when the Prime Minister nixed the possibility of expanding the city's second airport.

"I will reverse Trudeau's decision," Poilievre stated, "and allow jets to fly in and out of Billy Bishop airport to give people back control of their lives."

Currently, only turboprop aircraft are allowed to land at Billy Bishop Airport, which means the only flights it can accommodate are short-haul regionals. Nonetheless, in 2019 it was the ninth busiest airport in the nation, with 2.8 million passengers going through the gates.

Poilievre suggested that building a longer runway, thus allowing larger aircrafts to land, would bring the number of guests up to 4.8 million per year.

He also argued it would "increase competition, shorten commute times, reduce gridlock, create 2,000 paycheques, and inject $55 million in tax revenue."

"It's a win, win, win, win, win," he continued, "so of course, Trudeau sided with the gatekeepers who fought tooth and nail to stop it. Let's expand Billy Bishop Airport and open competition in a country where the sky's the limit."

His announcement follows a new poll which revealed most Canadians think the delays and general disorganization at Canada's national airports are a global embarrassment. The Ipsos survey found that 70 percent of Canadians now believe "the situation at Canadian airports is an embarrassment to Canada." Another 60 percent of respondents are avoiding flying until they see improvements.

Last month, former NHL defenceman Ryan Whitney made international headlines after calling Toronto's Pearson Airport "the worst airport on earth." He was trapped at the airport for days before the airline found him a flight home.

After being elected, the Trudeau Liberals came out against plans for a longer runway, siding with residents of Toronto Island and waterfront condo owners who opposed the plan.

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