It is estimated that demand will soar to around 110 million passengers annually by the early 2040s, making planning ahead vital.
SOAN eleven members are Toronto Pearson, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Hamilton John C Munro International Airport, Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport, Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, London International Airport, Oshawa Executive Airport, Niagara District Airport, Peterborough Airport, Region of Waterloo International Airport and Windsor International Airport.
Transport Canada and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation will also be important contributors to SOAN’s work.
Among the short, medium and long term goals of the SOAN are:
• Completing an economic analysis of the impact of the Southern Ontario Airport Network for our communities, the region and the province;
• Understanding the ground transportation needs in Southern Ontario and advocating for investment in ground transportation improvements that will reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions; and
• Developing best-in-class strategies for responsible and sustainable airport growth including community engagement and noise management.
In conjunction with the launch event, the SOAN released a statement of intent titled, 'Flying Together: The Southern Ontario Airport Network'.
The paper emphasises that planning for growth in a responsible way is essential; without it, the region could potentially leave C$15 billion in GDP on the table and force more than 20 million passengers to look elsewhere for their air travel needs.
The members of the SOAN recognise that the region has the potential, given its many air transportation assets, to meet the growing demand for air travel.
And they believe that through responsible planning, SOAN will ensure that the region is well placed to keep the jobs and economic benefits of air service demand in Southern Ontario.
“Our forecast tells us that by 2043 aviation demand will be around 110 million passengers," says Howard Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.
"When we look at what the current capacity amongst airports in the region, we would be leaving 20 million passengers ‘on the table’ if we don’t take action now. Thankfully, we have a network of great airports, who have come together to start brainstorming ways to capitalise on this incredible opportunity.
"We know that the efficient movement of people and goods to and from our region is an important part of Canada’s broader supply chain, and that we have a role in enabling economic prosperity through our actions and investments.
"As we look to the future of this growing region, we know that each of our airports can play a greater role in supporting our local and regional economies.”
Gene Cabral, executive vice president of PortsToronto, operator of Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport, commented: “Billy Bishop Airport has experienced incredible growth over the last 10 years and made significant investments in infrastructure and services to ensure the airport can continue to serve as an important gateway to/from eastern Canada and the US and a valuable asset for the City of Toronto.
"The paper released today indicates that there is great opportunity associated with an airport network for Southern Ontario that can address growth in the region and future demand for aviation through collaboration.
"For its part, Billy Bishop Airport is exceptionally well positioned to continue to play its part as it already specializes in regional travel and has a managed growth strategy in place to ensure it can support Pearson and the future travel needs of Ontarians while focused on other airport services such as medevac and personal aviation while remaining in balance with the community in which it is located.”
While Vijay Bathijya, CEO of Hamilton John C. Munro International Airpor, said: “As Toronto Pearson becomes a mega hub airport, network airports in the Greater Toronto Horseshoe Area like Hamilton International are ready to serve the growing passenger and cargo traffic demand with significant available low cost capacity.
"In addition, connectivity options like the new Shuttle service that we announced today simply enhances connectivity between our two airports with regular service to allow for seamless travel options for the customers.”
And London International Airport's president and CEO, Michael Seabrook, remarked: "The creation of the Southern Ontario Airport Network is an important step in the evolution of airports in our region.
"London International Airport fully supports this initiative and believes it will allow Pearson Airport to fulfill its destiny as Canada's mega hub airport while better utilising the infrastructure of airports like London.
"Meeting the passenger demands of our market and improving their airport experience are at the route of this initiative. The creation of the Southern Ontario Airport Network will achieve this outcome."