Passengers flying out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport have been accustomed to a unique additional step to reaching their gate when trying to catch a flight. Instead of being dropped off in front of the airport and walking inside to receive one’s boarding pass and go through security, travelers flying through Billy Bishop Airport must take a 90-second ferry ride across Lake Ontario to reach their gate. Billy Bishop Airport is located on an island in Lake Ontario, located two miles from the downtown area. While many passengers enjoy the ferry ride, others have complained that the quarter-hourly crossings cause a lot of stress for passengers trying to make their flight.
This spring, the Billy Bishop Airport will open an 800-foot pedestrian tunnel that is the first underwater walkable airport link in the world. It will take six minutes to walk from one end of the tunnel to the other. While that is four and a half minutes longer than the ferry ride, passengers will no longer have to wait in ferry lines and the waves of drop offs. City officials are happy that passengers will be walking to their flights and hopes that the tunnel will encourage more people to arrive at the airport by foot, bike, or public transit. Construction on the $82.5 million project began in 2012 and the tunnel is scheduled to open this spring. It is being completed through a public private partnership and is being financed by the private sector and by departing passengers via the airport improvement fee. A new pavilion will be built on the mainland to allow access to the tunnel. The pavilion is part of the 25-year transformation of Toronto’s Inner Harbor. Click here to see a quick video about the project.