PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport), today confirmed that US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) will be introduced at the downtown Toronto Airport.
An announcement by the federal Minister of Transport, The Honourable Omar Alghabra, at Billy Bishop Airport earlier this morning confirmed that funding for the capital expenditure associated with the preclearance facility will be provided by the federal government. This important funding will enable the construction and implementation of the preclearance facility at Billy Bishop Airport which will be operational in 2025.
The facility will take between 18-24 months to complete and, once constructed, will provide Billy Bishop Airport passengers with the opportunity to clear customs in Toronto, rather than having to clear customs upon landing at US airports.
Preclearance will also open up new markets to the US, as travellers can now access smaller US airports that do not currently have US CBP, and therefore cannot accept travellers that have not been precleared. There are currently 15 US CBP preclearance locations in six countries around the world including Canada. Eight Canadian airports currently offer preclearance, with Billy Bishop Airport becoming the ninth such facility.
Billy Bishop Airport is a convenient and valuable connection point between downtown Toronto and regional and hub markets in the US. The addition of preclearance will encourage bilateral trade, facilitate convenient travel for business and leisure passengers, and reinforce national security. The new facility will also offer next-generation travel technology, including facial recognition that is designed to make the process more efficient for travellers.
In today’s announcement, Minister Alghabra confirmed that the federal government will provide up to $30 million towards capital funding for planning, design and construction of the preclearance facility at Billy Bishop Airport. The funding will assist PortsToronto and its partners in delivering this facility within the planned timeframe, ensuring the facility is operational in 2025. The funding will not apply to operational costs of the preclearance facility.
Billy Bishop Airport is the ninth busiest airport in Canada and the fifth busiest serving US markets. The airport traditionally welcomes approximately 450,000 US passengers per year.
The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport said; “The investment in the new United States preclearance facility for the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport will provide travellers in the Greater Toronto area more options when flying to the United States and will support the reduction of airport congestion. Investing in this facility is great news for the airport and for Canadians!”
RJ Steenstra, President & CEO, PortsToronto, Billy Bishop Airport Owner and Operator, said: “PortsToronto and its partners, including Nieuport Aviation and Porter Airlines, have been working towards securing preclearance for nearly a decade, as it will further enhance the passenger experience by offering passengers the ability to clear customs on home soil using next-generation technology intended to make the process quick and convenient.
“Preclearance will also provide access to more US markets which will boost connectivity and bilateral trade and tourism between Toronto and the eastern US. This will have a tremendous economic impact on the city in terms of GDP, generating jobs, and attracting talent and investment. We are incredibly pleased and proud to confirm preclearance at the airport, and look forward to working with our partners to commence work immediately to have the facility open in 2025.”
Neil Pakey, CEO, Nieuport Aviation, Terminal Owner and Operator noted:”Preclearance at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) will contribute immensely to the convenience and seamless experiences that passengers expect.Today, YTZ provides connectivity to four U.S. destinations, but with preclearance, travellers could see that number reach 15 or more. Whether it’s Bay St. to Wall St. or Yorkville to Soho, U.S. customs preclearance at Billy Bishop Airport will deepen business ties with our largest trading partner, while also boosting our visitor economy in Toronto by helping with conventions and exhibitions, hotel bookings and the nighttime economy.
“But the benefits expand much further than Toronto connecting Ontario and eastern Canada through our airport to critical markets in the United States. Our research shows that preclearance at Billy Bishop will stimulate $4.8 billion in economic impact, create 32,400 new jobs, and save the equivalent of $28 million in monetized time savings for passengers.”
About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ)
Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations and facilitating healthcare for Ontarians by providing a base for medevac services connected to local hospitals.. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards. With a focus on cleaner, greener and quieter operations, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has made significant upgrades in recent year to achieve its sustainability goals which are reported on an annual basis. Billy Bishop Airport is owned and operated by PortsToronto.
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
Featured image credited to PortsToronto