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Mayor Ford requests report on Porter jets at island airport

Mayor Rob Ford wants the city manager to report back in July on the Porter Airlines plan to fly jets over Toronto and extend the runway at island airport.

Mayor Ford made the surprise request at the start of Tuesday's executive committee meeting. He said it was important to start the reporting process as quickly as possible given the extensive public interest in the issue and the fact it may take staff some time to investigate and provide advice.

The request must still be discussed by members of Mayor Ford's cabinet-like executive. The first item on Tuesday's agenda was an amendment to the city's anti-discrimination policies.

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Porter announced its plan to order jet aircraft and extend the runway at Billy Bishop airport earlier this month. It said the sound level from the Bombardier CS100 would be comparable to the existing Q400 turboprops.

But Porter needs approval from the three signatories to the tripartite agreement that governs the airport: the city, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority.

Several councillors complained they were blindsided by Porter's announcement, and more than a dozen said they oppose the expansion plan. Some area residents have also expressed their opposition.

Robert Deluce, Porter's president and chief executive officer, sent Mayor Ford a letter on the matter Monday.

"To ensure the parties have sufficient time to finalize the amendment to the tripartite agreement, we require the city of Toronto's approval in July 2013," Mr. Deluce wrote. "This would allow for the infrastructure requirements to be designed and completed ahead of our first delivery in early 2016."

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