Air Canada has finally brokered an arrangement with a sister company of Porter Airlines to launch Bombardier Q400 service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

The service, which was expected to start last month, is now scheduled to take off May 1. The service was delayed while Air Canada negotiated a terminal agreement with City Centre Terminal Corp., a company owned by Porter Aviation Holdings, which also operates the only commercial carrier currently serving Billy Bishop.

Air Canada’s initial schedule will provide up to 15 daily nonstop flights between the island airport and Montreal Trudeau International Airport. The service marks Air Canada's return to branded service at Billy Bishop after an acrimonious exit in 2006 left the airport with just one operator—Porter.

Ben Smith, Air Canada’s executive VP and chief commercial officer, notes, “Air Canada is extremely pleased to return to Toronto Island and expand the range of travel options for our customers. This unique service between downtown Toronto and Montreal will provide more choice and added convenience for our customers traveling between Canada’s two largest cities.”

The shuttle between Toronto City and Trudeau will be operated by Sky Regional Airlines Inc., a division of Toronto-based Skyservice Business Aviation.

Air Canada’s return was welcomed by the Toronto Port Authority, which last year prevailed against the carrier’s claims that it was favoring Porter’s monopoly at Billy Bishop (Aviation Daily, July 23, 2010). “We are very pleased that these negotiations have been successful,” says TPA CEO and President Geoff Wilson. “Opening the airport to new carriers is a key element of our long-term business plan, and can only serve the best interests of the passengers who love the easy access of our downtown airport.”

This plan also includes the addition of United Continental Holdings Q400 service at the airport, and while the flights are expected to start this spring, a specific date has not been announced.

Porter, meanwhile, has unveiled its first television advertising campaign, based on its animated raccoon mascot, Mr. Porter. “Porter is always looking for new and interesting ways to reach our passengers, and the logical next step in our marketing strategy is to include television advertising,” says VP-Marketing and Communications Elizabeth Margles.