Porter eyes new restart date in March

Porter Airlines eyes massive expansion with potential for U.S. sun destinations, Mexico and the Caribbean

TORONTO — Travel agents are a key factor in Porter Airlines’ success, now and going forward, says the company as it eyes massive expansion plans.

And that includes travel agents in Western Canada too, as the carrier looks west as well as south.

As reported this morning on Travelweek.ca, Porter Airlines is coming roaring back from the pandemic, with plans for up to 80 new planes, brand new service out of Toronto’s Pearson airport, and new flights to more U.S. sun destinations, plus Mexico and the Caribbean.

Just last week the airline announced its plans to resume service on Sept. 8 from its regular Toronto home base, Billy Bishop Airport, to select destinations across Canada, with U.S. service set to resume Sept. 17.

Now with today’s expansion announcement Porter is setting the bar high with big goals for capacity and network reach.

Porter had already introduced service to select U.S. sun destinations over the years, including Orlando in 2015, and Myrtle Beach. However this latest announcement indicates that Porter is ready to widen its network of U.S. sun destinations even further, and to Mexico and the Caribbean as well.

The airline says it wants to ‘transform travel again in the wider North American market.’

The airline is looking not just south, but also west. 

While passengers – and travel agents – in cities including Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have long flown with and worked with Porter, now Western Canada will be included in the airline’s network too.

Porter’s travel agent portal is at https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/services/travel-agents.

Agents who are registered can login, or sign up if they’re new.

“Travel agents are an important part of how Porter sells its flights. We can now create new relationships in Western Canada and look forward to starting this process over the next year ahead of new routes coming online,” Porter Airlines’ Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Brad Cicero, told Travelweek this morning.

UP TO 80 NEW PLANES WITH TRANSCONTINENTAL RANGE

Key to the expansion is the introduction of up to 80 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft into Porter’s fleet. The $5.82 billion investment includes 30 firm commitments and 50 purchase right options. Included in the agreement is the ability to convert purchase rights to smaller E190-E2s. Porter says this provides opportunities to introduce nonstop service in markets where connecting flights are often the only option, and also enables higher-frequency service for routes with greater demand.

The new planes have transcontinental range and will enter into service with Porter starting in the second half of 2022.

Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines, says Porter intends to operate the E2s to top destinations from Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The introduction of specific routes will be determined in advance of aircraft deliveries, he added.

“We are bringing Porter’s distinct style of service to dozens of new North American cities,” said Deluce. “We believe that now is the right time to make this investment as the pandemic resets the aviation landscape. Adding a diverse selection of popular business and leisure destinations to our network means that we are better positioned to serve the needs of many more passengers.”

The expansion means Porter will be offer flights from Pearson Airport for the first time, however flights from Porter’s existing hub at downtown Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport remain core to its business and will continue with high-frequency regional service on turboprop aircraft, says Deluce.

The E195-E2 accommodates between 120 and 146 passengers. The E2s will not operate at Billy Bishop Airport, says Robert Deluce, founder and executive chairman, Porter Airlines.

“Our commitment to Billy Bishop Airport is not changing,” he adds. “Our corporate headquarters at Billy Bishop is being maintained and we will continue serving the same network of regional markets from downtown Toronto. We are moving beyond this existing footprint to welcome more travellers across North America, with an emphasis on providing the sophisticated service that only Porter delivers.”

Deluce notes that the E195-E2’s range allows for the creation of a continental route network. Potential markets reach coast to coast in Canada and the U.S., including U.S. sun destinations, plus Mexico and the Caribbean.

A destination map is available at www.flyporter.com, with initial routes to be announced in 2022.

The new E195-E2s, combined with Porter’s existing De Havilland Dash 8-400s, mean the airline will have one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable commercial aircraft fleets.

Don Carty, chairman of the board, Porter Airlines, said: “The support of our board of directors and shareholders was crucial in deciding to invest in Porter’s future. We have investors, partners, customers and team members who have been with us from day one, while others joined at different points along the way. It’s time for us to collectively build on the exceptional global reputation that we’ve built for Porter and continue our journey.”

An overview of Porter’s growth plan, including E195-E2 features, is available on its website.