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New daily 19-minute flights between Barrie and Toronto

FlyGTA Airline offering 19-minute trips
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Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman attended the announcement at Billy Bishop Airport about new flights between Toronto to Barrie. Billy Bishop Airport twitter

North Bay lost Porter airlines recently and one of the reasons given was the city is too close to Toronto and people can just drive.

But today Canadian Airline FlyGTA has announced new daily flights between Barrie and Toronto, a city just 45 minutes away.

The company says the flight time is 19-minutes direct and the plane will seat 8 passengers.

"It will start with Monday to Friday. Currently we'll have just one round-trip flight leaving Toronto at 12 noon and leaves Barrie at 1 p.m. but we expect in late November to add a couple more flights into there as well," said FlyGTA Chief Executive Officer Chris Nowrouzi.

The cost is $129.00 including taxes and fees one way.

There are two types of people that can justify the cost 'very easily,' said Nowrouzi.

"One is someone that's travelling going to Montreal or Ottawa. Instead of driving down to Pearson, spending the two-hour drive time, gas and parking and going out on the town for two or three days, coming back and paying for that parking and driving back. It absolutely makes sense to take our flight to Billy Bishop and take one of the connecting flights from here."

"The other thing is business people looking to save a lot of time. Save you a two-hour drive each way every day," added Nowrouzi.

"Even with the GO Train you're looking at two and half hours."

The flights will be between Billy Bishop Airport at the Toronto Island to Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte.

Details on the increased service were provided on Tuesday morning by Nowrouzi during a news conference at Billy Bishop Airport.

Nowrouzi was joined by representatives from three airports receiving new service - all members of the Southern Ontario Airport Network - as well as a representative from the cities of Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie, and Niagara, incuding Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman. 

"Scheduled service has been a goal for our airport for many years and it's exciting to see it happen. These are light aircraft with very small passenger loads that are designed to connect people to the Island Airport in Toronto and further destinations served by airlines at the Island," said Mayor Lehman.

"For business travel to downtown Toronto, for connections at the Island, and for tourists visiting Barrie and Simcoe County, this provides a new travel alternative that is reliable and congestion-proof."

Starting November 6, travelers from the GTA will gain access to the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (Barrie) and the Region of Waterloo International Airport, with service to London International Airport commencing in December 2017.

These new destinations are in addition to the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake, to which FLYGTA has offered regular daily commuter flights since September 2016, with eight flights per day.

"We've been pleased with the success of our Toronto-to-Niagara flight service over the past year, and FLYGTA is excited to be able to add to our list of destinations in Ontario," said Nowrouzi. "This will be a big benefit to travelers because we can turn long car rides on busy highways into short, comfortable flights that will get our passengers where they want to go in a matter of minutes.”

Not only will the new flights start to take some of the load off of Pearson Airport, they will also help ease traffic strain on Ontario's highways, FlyGTA claims in a news release.

"I want to thank FlyGTA for seeing the potential in our region and our airport and for their investment in this new service.  I actually think this is the thin end of the wedge, and is a good example of how collaboration within the Southern Ontario Airport Network is going to help expand air travel among regional airports across southern Ontario," said Lehman. 

The distance from the Billy Bishop Airport to the London International Airport is 185 kilometres; to the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport 130 kilometres; and to the Region of Waterloo International Airport 101 kilometres.

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