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Noise not an issue for proposed Porter jets

A Porter Airlines plane take off from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport in front of condo towers on Wednesday April 10, 2013.

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

Although Porter will need to propose a change to the Tripartite Agreement – between the City of Toronto, the federal government and the Toronto Port Authority – to allow their jet-powered aircraft to use the island airport, under the agreement they won't be breaking any noise regulations.

The jets, 12 of which have already been purchased by Porter and another 18 looming as a possibility, fit within the limitations for sound emissions as outlined by the agreement, which restricts noise, airport development and types of planes from flying from the island airport.

Dubbed "whisper jets" by Porter CEO Robert Deluce, Porter's new CS100s are only expected to reach 21 effective perceived noise decibels. The first plane is expected to be flown and tested in June.

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The Toronto Port Authority's limits, which comply with the Tripartite Agreement, are 84 dBA (decibels) for flyover, 83.5 dBA lateral and 92 dBA approach. The current Bombardier Q400 planes have approach noise levels ranging from 81.6 to 83.4 dBA.

Bombardier's Q400 website calls the plane one of the quietest aircrafts, inside and out. The CS100 website says it is the quietest commercial plane in production.

Councillor Adam Vaughan, whose ward covers the island airport, said it's not only the sound envelope of the area that will be affected, but also the lake's currents, shipping habits and aquatic life that will suffer. He also worries it will open the door for other airlines flying jets into the airport.

"When you say yes to Bombardier jets, others will want to fly out of there, too," he said. "And there's no guarantee the other jets are as new and clean and quiet as Porter's will be."

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