City council has voted unanimously, 44-0, to further study a plan that would see the runways at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport expanded to accommodate jets.

The city will undertake a series of studies that will probe the environmental impact of the plan, as well as how an expansion would affect traffic, among other issues. Once the studies are complete, city staff will give Porter its decision on the contentious issue.

The unanimous vote had both sides declaring victory, a reaction that surprised the deputy mayor.

“Both opponents broke out in spontaneous applause as the vote was announced. That’s never been seen before,” said Norm Kelly.

Porter president and CEO Robert Deluce said he was happy with the way council voted.

“When you get a 44 to zero vote, that’s a very positive day,” Deluce said.

NoJetsTO, a group that has been lobbying against the expansion for almost a year, welcomed the delay in the final vote.

“Today’s City Council decision is a victory for us as Porter didn’t get the jet approval they were seeking,” NoJetsTO chair Anshul Kapoor commented. “That Robert Deluce’s push for quick approval was stalled is in no small part the result of grassroots organizing.”

Last week, the city’s executive committee voted 11-1 to move ahead with negotiations on the proposed Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport expansion.

A city staff report said the city, pending council approval, could start negotiating with the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) and Transport Canada to amend the 1983 Tripartite Agreement that bans jets from flying to and from the island airport.

An actual decision on the expansion won’t be made until 2015 with a new council.

Click here to read the agenda item.

Mayor Rob Ford was absent for the morning debate on Tuesday but arrived at City Hall at 1 p.m., while council was on recess.