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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Canada’s Porter Airlines Extends Flight Suspensions To October

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One of Canada’s niche carriers, Porter Airlines, has announced it is extending its service suspension until October 7th. This is the fourth delay to the airline’s restart target. Porter Airlines has suspended its operations since March 21st.

Porter Airlines Dash 8
Porter Airlines has further extended its flight suspensions. Photo: Getty Images

An extension to the restart date

On August 4th, Porter Airlines announced it was updating its return-to-service date. The airline pushed the resumption date to October 7th. The airline cited the continued closure of the US-Canada border for non-essential travel through at least August 21st, the Atlantic Canada travel bubble that restricts movement outside the region, and quarantines and travel advisories.

In a press release viewed by Simple Flying, Porter Airlines’ CEO and president, Michael Deluce, stated the following:

“We never intended to suspend operations for such an extended period of time. Unfortunately, the layers of travel restrictions are serving to keep most people at home and show no signs of easing. We will continue making decisions based on how the situation evolves.”

While flights have been suspended since March, Porter is still allowing customers to book travel. All bookings made through October 7th will face no cancellation or change fees. This includes vacation packages.

Porter Airlines temporarily suspended its operations on March 21st. Photo: Getty Images

The fourth delay

When Porter announced that it was suspending flights amid the ongoing crisis back in March, the carrier initially targeted a June 1st resumption. In April, that date was pushed back further until June 29th. About a month later, Porter again delayed the return to July 29th. In June, that date was revised to August 31st. This latest delay is the fourth time thus far that Porter has pushed its return to service date.

The airline also canceled two summer seasonal services, Muskoka in Ontario and Stephenville in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Toronto Billy Bishop
Porter operates out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport– a much smaller airport than the main Toronto-Pearson. Photo: Ken Lund via Flickr

Who are Porter Airlines?

As far as air carriers go, Porter Airlines is a niche airline operating out of Toronto. According to data from Planespotters.net, the airline has a fleet of 29 Dash 8-400s. These aircraft are equipped with 78 seats in an all-economy configuration.

The airline is based out of Toronto– but not the city’s main airport. Porter flies out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). This is a smaller, secondary airport in Toronto that cannot handle jets. There is also an agreement from 1983 that bans jets at YTZ. Hence, Porter flies an all-turboprop fleet.

The airline had plenty of big plans. Back in 2013, Porter Airlines announced a conditional purchase for 12 Bombardier CS100 jets (now the Airbus A220-100) with options for 18 more. The plan was to take the CSeries aircraft once YTZ allowed for jets. However, that did not occur, and the Canadian launch customer for the CSeries ended up not taking any of the aircraft.

Porter Airlines CSeries
Porter Airlines had a firm order for 12 of the jets with options for 18. Photo: Bombardier

Porter Airlines primarily operates flights in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States. For international flights, the airline has partnerships with other carriers. This includes JetBlue, El Al, Icelandair, Qatar Airways, and Azores Airlines.

Do Porter Airlines’ flight suspensions impact you? Are you a fan of Porter Airlines? Let us know in the comments!

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