News Local

Additional daily service slated for Lake Simcoe Regional Airport

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Lake Simcoe Regional Airport manager Mike Drumm is pleased with the Tuesday announcement by FLYGTA Airlines to include the Oro-Medonte Township facility in its future plans.

Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

Lake Simcoe Regional Airport manager Mike Drumm is pleased with the Tuesday announcement by FLYGTA Airlines to include the Oro-Medonte Township facility in its future plans. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

ORO-MEDONTE TWP. – Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (LSRA) is moving on up.

The Oro-Medonte facility is one of three new Ontario airports included in plans announced Tuesday by FLYGTA Airlines, a Canadian airline which operates out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Toronto Island.

FLYGTA said it will add daily service to LSRA and Region of Waterloo International Airport on Nov. 6 and London International Airport commencing in December.

That’s great news for Lake Simcoe Regional Airport manager Mike Drumm.

“It’s definitely a positive for the airport,” he said. “What it’s going to do for our region is provide the ability to interact with Canada’s main economic centre (Toronto) by getting to Billy Bishop Airport and providing connectivity to other larger airline flights.

“You fly to Billy Bishop, hop off and go to one of the larger carriers down there, for instance Porter or Air Canada, and you’re on your way to Boston or wherever.”

The new destinations are in addition to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake, to which FLYGTA has offered regular daily commuter flights since September 2016, with eight flights per day.

Not only will the new flights remove some of the load off Toronto Pearson International Airport, they will also help ease traffic strain on Ontario's highways, according to FLYGTA chief executive officer Chris Nowrouzi.

"This will be a big benefit to travelers because we can turn long car rides on busy highways into short, comfortable flights that will get our passengers where they want to go in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Drumm also alluded to Highway 400 when describing the benefits of the new service to Lake Simcoe Regional Airport.

“What would Barrie look like today if that 400 conduit was limited to what it was 50 years ago?” he asked. “Barrie would’ve been a small town. It would not be the economic centre it is today.

“LSRA is the same thing. We’re providing that conduit to new markets, which is only going to foster new growth.”

The distance from Billy Bishop Airport to the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport is 130 kilometres, to the London International Airport 185 kilometres and to the Region of Waterloo International Airport 101 kilometres.

“Today, it’s about Billy Bishop,” Drumm said. “Tomorrow? As the market continues to evolve and the service establishes itself, we can continue to review new routes and demand, and from that, perhaps in the future, there may be the opportunity to have connectivity to those regions as well (from LSRA).”

The Southern Ontario Airport Network reports air traffic in southern Ontario is expected to reach approximately 110 million passengers within 25 years.

In 2015, Pearson Airport handled 443,000 flights and 41 million passengers.

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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