Greater Toronto Airways plans to use twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftains for its commuter flights. GTA Photo
Imagine stepping onto an eight-seat, twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain in Toronto and landing 12 minutes later in the Niagara region, soaring blissfully over gridlocked commuters stuck in a three-hour drive.
It’s the kind of thing motorists daydream about when highways become parking lots, and starting in mid-September it may be a reality.
Greater Toronto Airways (GTA), a private airline based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, aims to start offering commuter flights for $85 (or $159 for a round trip) starting Sept. 15.
“Our main goal was to connect Niagara Falls and Toronto in a different way than done before,” said Chris Nowrouzi, the airline’s president and CEO, in a speech on Aug. 9, 2016.
“Our goal is to grow from just connecting Toronto and Niagara Falls to then Toronto and Collingwood, Niagara Falls and Collingwood, Muskoka after that,” he said.
“Then focus on the smaller townships that really have to drive through the traffic to get here to Niagara District or to downtown Toronto.”
Flights will depart Toronto for Niagara at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and return at 8:30 a.m., landing at Billy Bishop airport in time for the start of the business day. At 4:30 p.m. the planes return to Niagara, with final flights back to Toronto at 6 p.m.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale Aug. 10, 2016 at flygta.com
“It should be a very interesting process for us as we start up,” said Nowrouzi. “We look forward to everyone’s support. It’s really, really exciting to start this process.”
The airline is focusing on the business sector at first and plans to expand from there into the tourism sector and into weekend operations, said Nowrouzi.
GTA also offers “adventure/scenic flights” in private planes on its website, showcasing bird’s eye views of Toronto, Niagara Falls and the Muskokas.
The company also offers private flights it says are “perfect for business travel, a date, a fun-filled day with friends, or a gift that’ll create a lifelong memory.”
Flights between Toronto and Collingwood and between Toronto and Montreal are listed as “coming soon.”