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Montreal's international airport takes rival to court over name change

The Quebec Superior Court is seen in Montreal on March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL — The authority that runs Montreal's international airport is going to court to stop an up-and-coming suburban airport from rebranding with the city's name, arguing it will sow confusion among travellers.

But the airport being taken to court is accusing the international airport of trying to protect a "monopoly."

Aéroports de Montréal, which operates Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, has requested a permanent injunction in Quebec Superior Court to force the new Montreal Metropolitan Airport to change its name.

Long known simply as the Saint-Hubert airport after the Longueuil, Que., borough in which it is located, the Montreal Metropolitan Airport adopted its new name in February. That came after the airport announced a partnership in 2023 with Porter Airlines for a new $200-million terminal that could handle up to four million domestic travellers a year.

Eric Forest, spokesman for Aéroports de Montréal, says Montreal Metropolitan Airport is too similar to the name of the international airport, which is in the municipality of Dorval on the Island of Montreal. It carried more than 21 million passengers in 2023.

The authority declined to share its injunction request, but Forest said in an emailed statement it is "concerned about the confusion this change could cause for passengers, both from Montreal and elsewhere, considering the very close similarities between the names."

He said the authority expressed its opposition to the name change when it was announced and, after failing to come to an agreement, took the matter to court. The authority also objects to the name because the Montreal Metropolitan Airport is located on Montreal's South Shore and not on the Island of Montreal.

But Simon-Pierre Diamond, a vice-president with the Montreal Metropolitan Airport, countered that their facility, also known as the MET, has a strong claim to the Montreal name as it is actually closer than Montreal-Trudeau International Airport to the city's downtown.

Diamond said many big cities have more than one airport, and the MET — which used to cater more to flight academies and local pilots flying small aircraft — will also serve commercial passengers travelling through the Montreal area.

"ADM doesn’t have the monopoly on airports for Montrealers, and we believe its in our rights to have this name,“ he said in an interview. "There is a new player in town and fighting over the name in court to protect a monopoly isn't the way to play."

The MET's new terminal will be located about 15 kilometres from downtown Montreal and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2025.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2024.

Joe Bongiorno, The Canadian Press

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