Greater Toronto Airways to offer 12-minute flights between Toronto and Niagara
If you need to get to Niagara — and you need to do it in 12 minutes – you’re in luck.
Starting Sept. 15, Greater Toronto Airways will offer daily flights from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
For $85 — or $159 round trip — passengers can bypass the brutal QEW gridlock and take a quick trip to wine country.
“It’s going to be big,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati of the plans, announced at a press conference on Tuesday. “People are always asking, ‘Is there a quicker way?’ We’ve been trying for years to attract a flight partner.”
“It’s frustrating to drive when you can shoot across the lake,” he added.
Two round trips will be offered Monday to Friday, all year round. The eight-seater planes will take off from Billy Bishop at 7:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Flights from Niagara to Billy Bishop will leave at 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“We’re very excited,” said David Nissan, vice-president of operations at Greater Toronto Airways, a private airline that specializes in short-range flights and site-seeing services in Ontario, Quebec and the northern U.S.
“We’re trying to provide a more-convenient service for people,” Nissan said. “If you look at the commute versus the flight time, there’s a massive difference.”
The flight can be completed in just 12 minutes. The test flight at Tuesday’s announcement clocked in at 14 minutes and 45 seconds, Nissan said.
“We did go a little slower today, just to enjoy the scenery on the way,” he explained.
By comparison, the 115-kilometre drive takes more than an hour — without traffic. ViaRail offers a 90-minute train trip, starting at $39.
Robert Kokonis, airline analyst with AirTrav, said he sees value in the service.
The flights will provide a reasonably priced option to make a normally sluggish commute in record time, Kokonis explained, particularly for those in the corporate world.
“If you’re a time-sensitive person and can afford the airfare . . . it’s a great way to go” he said.
Passengers are asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to takeoff. Security is done on board, by way of random checks.
And you can leave your passport at home. All you need is a government-issued photo ID and you’re ready to fly, Nissan said.
The airline is also planning to offer flights between Toronto and Collingwood and Toronto and Muskoka, he added.
Diodati said the new flights are the start of a Niagara Region initiative to create a transportation network.
“This is the tip of the iceberg. Niagara is now on the radar.”