Jazz Flights Turfed Out of Toronto Airport

Air Canada is temporarily suspending its Jazz service out of the Toronto City Centre Airport after the airline lost access to the airport terminal.

The decision comes after City Centre Aviation Ltd., which operates the airport on behalf of the Toronto Port Authority decided to renovate the terminal.

City Centre Aviation Ltd. is owned by REGCO Holdings and Robert DeLuce, the same man who hopes to start a rival Porter Airlines out of the island airport in the fall.

Last night, Air Canada issued a statement expressing disappointment and surprise at what it described as an "eviction" notice from DeLuce's company. The airline is the only tenant of the terminal and it said they were left with no option but to suspend its five weekday round trips to Ottawa for the month of March.

"We view this suspension as a temporary measure made necessary by an unforeseen eviction and the surprising unwillingness by the Toronto Port Authority to assist its longest-standing commercial airline in finding alternate facilities at the Island airport," said Bill Bredt, Air Canada Jazz's senior vice-president.

But in a veiled threat that alluded to problems between the airline, DeLuce's company and the Toronto Port Authority, Air Canada warned that all options including legal action would be considered to protect its interests at the island airport.

"Fair and equal access to this public facility is needed to ensure Jazz's long-term presence at Toronto City Centre Airport," the airline said.

DeLuce, however, said he was a bit surprised at the tone of Air Canada's statement and legal threats, especially because the airline has hardly used the airport for the past 10 years.

DeLuce said Air Canada appears to be reacting only after he announced his rival airline.

Lisa Raitt, of the Toronto Port Authority, said last night she hoped that Air Canada could make "appropriate arrangements" with another tenant at the island airport.

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