Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to use U.S. CBP Preclearance

Billy Bishop Airport has confirmed that U.S. CBP preclearance will be introduced at downtown Toronto Airport.

USBP Preclearance

Artist rendering. CREDIT: CNW Group/PortsToronto

PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport), has confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) will be introduced at downtown Toronto Airport. An announcement by the federal Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, at Billy Bishop Airport confirmed that funding for the capital expenditure associated with the preclearance facility will be provided by the federal government. This will enable the construction of preclearance facility at Billy Bishop Airport, which will be operational by 2025.

The facility will take between 18-24 months to complete and, once constructed, will provide Billy Bishop Airport passengers the opportunity to clear customs in Toronto, rather than having to clear customs upon landing at U.S. airports. Preclearance will also open up new markets to the U.S., as travellers can now access smaller U.S. airports that do not currently have U.S. CBP, and therefore cannot accept travellers that have not been precleared. There are currently 15 U.S. CBP preclearance locations in six countries around the world including Canada. Eight Canadian airports currently offer preclearance, with Billy Bishop Airport becoming the ninth such facility.

Billy Bishop Airport is a convenient and valuable connection point between downtown Toronto and regional and hub markets in the U.S. The addition of preclearance will encourage bilateral trade, facilitate convenient travel for business and leisure passengers, and reinforce national security. The new facility will also offer next-generation travel technology, including facial recognition that is designed to make the process more efficient for travellers.

Minister Alghabra confirmed that the federal government will provide up to $30 million towards capital funding for planning, design and construction of the preclearance facility at Billy Bishop Airport. The funding will assist PortsToronto and its partners in delivering this facility within the planned timeframe, ensuring the facility is operational in 2025. The funding will not apply to operational costs of the preclearance facility.

Billy Bishop Airport is the ninth busiest airport in Canada and the fifth busiest serving U.S. markets. The airport traditionally welcomes approximately 450,000 U.S. passengers per year.

As Canada continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, unique investments in our airport infrastructure continue to be crucial to maintain safety, security, and connectivity for business and leisure travellers, workers and communities. Government of Canada investments also help ensure Canada’s aviation industry is well-positioned to recover from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. 

The new facility will build capacity for Toronto’s growing business and leisure passenger volumes transiting through Canada’s largest city.

Fast and secure movement of people and goods across the United States border is key to boosting tourism, business, and trade. The Government of Canada’s contribution builds on investments made by PortsToronto, and the new preclearance facility will provide important benefits to Canadians and the air sector by:

  • increasing security and connectivity for business and leisure travellers using the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport;
  • reducing airport congestion and transportation bottlenecks by increasing Canada’s complement of airport pre-clearance facilities; and
  • improving fluidity and capacity in the transportation system.
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