Investor group buys Billy Bishop terminal

A consortium including Partners Group and JPMAM has acquired the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport for an undisclosed amount.

Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners, a consortium of Canadian and international infrastructure investors, has acquired the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) for an undisclosed amount from Porter Aviation Holdings (PAHI), Swiss alternative assets management firm Partners Group said in a statement.

PAHI sold the terminal to focus on its core airline business, Porter Airlines, according to Partners Group, a member of the consortium. The other infrastructure investors comprising the Nieuport group are: InstarAGF Asset Management, a joint venture between Instar Group and AGF Management, a Canadian investment management firm; JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) – Global Real Assets, part of JP Morgan Asset Management's Alternatives Investments business; and Kilmer Van Nostrand, a private investment holding company of Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed and a spokesperson for Nieuport declined to comment on the percentages each entity holds in the consortium.

The terminal was built in 2010 by City Centre Terminal, a subsidiary of Porter Aviation. City Centre Terminal operated the terminal facilities at BBTCA, Canada’s ninth-busiest airport, which in 2014 served 2.4 million passengers. According to a separate statement issued by JPMAM, City Centre Terminal will maintain and enhance its service at the airport in coming years.

“Few, if any, international business capitals boast an ‘in city’ airport that matches the convenience of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport,” said Matt LeBlanc, chief investment officer, OECD Infrastructure Equity Investments for JPMAM – Global Real Assets.

Partners Group’s managing director and head of Americas Private Infrastructure, Todd Bright, described the airport as “a highly attractive infrastructure asset in a stable market”.

“With a number of value-enhancing initiatives already underway at the time of acquisition, we look forward to working with our consortium partners and local stakeholders to manage the terminal efficiently, safely and with a focus on passenger experience,” Bright said, referring to a pedestrian tunnel that Ports Toronto, owner and operator of BBTCA, is currently building to improve access to and from the airport.

“Currently, passengers must take a ferry between the mainland (downtown Toronto) and the island on which the airport is located. The pedestrian tunnel will make it faster and easier than ever for travelers to access the airport, thereby enhancing its overall appeal and market position,” Nieuport's spokesperson explained in an e-mailed response.

Accessible to about 6.6 million residents within a one-hour drive, BBTCA generates approximately C$1.9 billion (€1.3 billion; $1.5 billion) in total annual economic impact and supports 5,700 direct and indirect jobs.