Fog Forces New Toronto Carrier to Bus Passengers

Billed as a convenient and dignified alternative to flying out of Pearson airport, the new Porter Airlines had to shuttle some of its passengers yesterday to and from the tarmac city in Mississauga.

Pinned down by heavy fog settling over its home base at City Centre Airport, Porter diverted a total of about five incoming and outgoing flights from the lakeshore to Pearson.

Porter CEO Robert Deluce said the adjustments had nothing to do with the size or sophistication of the airport facilities and everything to do with the fact the fog simply hung heavier in the harbour.

"Two different airports. Twenty-eight kilometres apart. Different weather conditions," Deluce said. "We were doing anything and everything to ensure that our passengers were inconvenienced to the minimum possible. It was a difficult day all the way around at airports (yesterday)."

Passengers arriving at the island airport to catch a flight to Ottawa - the airline's only current destination - checked in and passed through security screening. Then, instead of boarding the plane, they got on a bus that drove them from the island to a hangar at Pearson rented by Porter, and got on the plane without having to check-in or go through security again.

"This whole process was arranged ahead of time and co-ordinated with approval from Transport Canada, CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) and the GTAA (Greater Toronto Airports Authority)," Deluce said.

When weather makes it impossible to land at the island airport, Porter arranges for a bus to drive passengers from Pearson to Union Station, where they can transfer to a Porter shuttle headed for the island airport, if their cars are parked there.

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