Policy Change at Toronto Airways

Toronto Airways (the flight school at Buttonville) is making a policy change with regards to their booking & rental policy.

John Davis, Vice President of Flight Operations describes the change:

Toronto Airways has been receiving numerous complaints from customers with respect to our aircraft availability.  As a result, we completed a thorough investigation of our reservation system, aircraft utilization and cancellation policies.

It was discovered that some individuals were taking advantage of our system to monopolize the aircraft and not use the time that they booked.  In many cases the actual time used was 50% or less of the time reserved.  In other instances the aircraft was booked and cancelled on a regular basis and not flown at all.

In an effort to stop this from happening and to increase the availability of aircraft to our customers Toronto Airways is instituting the following policy effective August 1, 2012.

Aircraft bookings will be charged out at the board rate for the aircraft at the greater of, 80% of the time booked or the actual flight time.

The instructor will still be invoiced on the flight time component of the flight as usual.  This concept falls more in line with that of a car rental where customer pays for the time that the vehicle was available to them rather than on how much it was used.  We expect that this change will entice individuals to book the aircraft only for the time that they intend to use them.  Any extenuating circumstances with respect to dispatch delays, fuel etc will be looked at on a case by case basis.

Toronto Airways has also changed its cancellation policy from 24 hours to 48 hours.  Cancellations for weather will still be acceptable on the day of the flight.  Cancellations for extenuating circumstances will be looked at on a case by case basis.  Customers who cancel on a regular basis will have their aircraft booking privileges rescinded.

This is an interesting direction. Personally, I was never guilty of these tactics and I always did find it frustrating that aircraft were never available. However, the pricing model is interesting especially in the cases of longer bookings (say 4+ hours). Since now, I will be charged for time when the engine is not running (while eating lunch, for example).

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11 thoughts on “Policy Change at Toronto Airways

  1. Wow.

    I’m gonna have to go ahead and call “B.S.” that this was brought about due to complaints from customers… Based on what I am reading it is looking like a simple attempt to increase revenue. The threat of punishment to those that abuse bookings is one thing, but to set a minimum charge of 80% per booking across the board makes it all but impossible for anything other than a fast training flight…
    Regardless of daring to stop for lunch on a long XC flight, I have almost never been able to log 0.8 / hour “booked” when factoring in walk arounds, preflight, adding fuel etc; this new policy does not support the “rental pilot” at all.
    Toronto Airways wants to pump out students, but then send them else where to rent after gaining there licenses.
    Shame on you “Toronto Airways”… I don’t imagine there is much of a future for them anyway.
    I guess with Buttonville slated to close in a few years, there is no need to build customer loyalty for them; Where does “Toronto Airways” plan to move anyway?

  2. maybe I jumped the gun on that previous comment, in that I just heard there actually was a significant issue with people abusing the booking system at Toronto Airways… fair enough, with regard to the idea of the new policy punishing abusers; however, I still fell the “80% rule” is not cool for rental pilots.
    the 48 hour rule is also tough to work with… In my case, I occasionally make redundant bookings (such as for “the 99’s poker run”) to make sure I have a plane in the event that Wx kills my first booking; I naturally cancel the redundant booking with in 24 hours, when it is confirmed that I can fly the first booking which is generally for the day before… the 48 hour rule would negate that kind of “insurance booking”… Am I abusing the booking system by doing that? I guess it could be seen that way, but some significant flights that require a fair amount of planning, including a “rain date” such as a big XC flight like the poker run, need that kind of redundancy – heck, the actual event itself had a “rain date” for the following day…

    Anyway, regardless of my strong opinion on the matter, this new policy would mean I’d be bailing from Toronto Airways if I was a renter there…

    I am presently maintaining currency at both Island Air (30 day currency) and Spectrum Airways (60 day currency) on the 172R/SP models; and having a good time dealing with both companies

  3. Steve,

    I found it frustrating when it came time to book an aircraft. In my experience it was usually booked solid 3-4 weeks in the future.

    I understand where some people are coming from in this regard.

    I also have mixed feelings (similar to how you feel) with regards to charging based on booked time instead of Hobbs time. However, I suspect that the majority of their flights are local. So you would be using flying close to 80% of your booked time anyway.

    This does affect my GTA Rental Rates spreadsheet a bit. Not sure how I’m going to work this new policy into it.

  4. Might as well make as much money from everybody before it shuts down… I am in a fractional ownership and find that every company at Buttonville is squeezing every last dime from us… our hanger fees and fuel has spiked ever since the announcement (gone up at least 30% in the past 2 years)… and the amount of money leggitt charges us for annuals and repairs is at least 25-35% more than anywhere else.

  5. Ya I found out about this policy when I went and tried to book a currency checkout flight the other day, you can’t even do that online anymore as everything is over the phone now. Seeing as how I work from 6:30am-late every weekday, I haven’t flown in months. I am not even recent anymore as all my flights in the past year (?) have seemingly been on the checkout flights that they rip you for and as such have not acted as PIC. Looks like I am done with flying unless I start to use the Island…on the plus side Buttonville was getting dangerous with the lack of English skills from the vast majority of the CPL students from the mainland. They may be able to give out location reports but that doesn’t mean they understand what is said back.

  6. And they also now required a 1hr recurrency flight with an instructor every 6 month for all pilots, regardless of how often you fly. I got my licence through Toronto Airways years ago, and as a licenced pilot, the 80% booked time rule is too restrictive for me, limiting all my trips to local flights drilling holes in the sky. Their service at the dispatch desk has been getting worse too, and now I have moved on from Toronto Airways and been suggesting others to stay away as well.

  7. I was recently told that the six month currency check is for insurance purposes. I also heard that if you are a regular customer, the cost of an instructor for 1.5 hours is covered by the company. The only thing that we the customer has to pay for is the aircraft rental. That is not to bad now is it?

  8. I know about all this. I am a 15,000 hr + pilot and could not stay current at the clubs so I started Fly Block Time.

    We use dry rates, and are usually 60 days currency – 90 days for some.

    No charge when you overnight etc….

    Read our FAQ and check it out.


  9. Hi Guys,

    Was always frustrated by those blocking planes. I’d have just revoked their rental cards and told them to take their PPL-asses elswhere. See how well that behaviour goes down at other schools/clubs.

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