28 October 2010

Buttonville Closure Announced

After years of speculation the announcement on 27 October 2010 that Buttonville Airport is closing within five years should come as no surprise. The airport has been a money losing venture for years, propped up by subsidies paid by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority the airport is sitting on prime condo land in Markham that is worth billions. The airport is privately owned by the Sifton family and will be turned into "a vibrant, 24 hour, mixed-use community".

The question everyone is asking is where will all the private and corporate aircraft go along with all the associated businesses on the field. There are no easy answers to that question, as the Island Airport is moving small aircraft out in favour of airliners instead and most other airports within any distance of Toronto are either filled to capacity or threatened with closure themselves, like Markham Airport.

AvWeb has run the story indicating that the final nail in the coffin was declining traffic at nearby Toronto Pearson, which caused the GTAA to remove the subsidy it paid to Buttonville to keep it open and light aircraft traffic away from the International.

Here is the press release from Toronto Airways:

Media Release

Date: October 26, 2010

Subject: Future of Airport
For Immediate Publication

Markham, Ontario, CANADA – Toronto Airways Ltd. (TAL) owns and operates the Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport (CYKZ). Their resident businesses include Million Air Toronto - an established FBO of long standing and Toronto Airways Flight Training - the largest flight school in Canada. Others who call Buttonville their base include the Buttonville Flying Club, aviation college operations, corporate and business aviation charter operators, rotor craft schools, private flight operators and aircraft sales/brokerage/management firms.

Announcement of airport future . . .

Derek Sifton, President of TAL has announced today that a business agreement has now been put in place to redevelop the airport lands. Armadale Co. Limited (the parent company to TAL) and The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited have formed a joint venture for the development of the airport lands.

In speaking to his staff and tenants about the announcement Sifton stated “I can tell you now with certainty that in the coming years, this airport site will be closed for redevelopment under this agreement. While this will not happen tomorrow, it is going forward and will occur sometime over what we expect will be a five year period.”

“This is not the end of TAL” said Mr. Sifton. “We see this as the beginning of a further development and refinement of our business. TAL is and for some time now has been actively pursuing relocation and/or diversification plans for its aviation businesses. These plans include our customers, suppliers and the general and business aviation community. We have a lot to offer and the ability to take what we do to places where it is welcomed and needed. Now that we have concrete information to work with regarding the future of Buttonville, we can proceed on the options and opportunities and hopefully have an agreement soon with something further to announce. In the interim, it is business as usual for all of us. We have great facilities, a great team and we will continue to support this airport in the best possible manner to ensure safety, security and service responsibility.”

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For additional information contact Robert Seaman – by telephone at (705) 250-0473 or by email at rwseaman@bizav.ca