The Canadian carrier is keen to expand its footprint south of the border as it takes delivery of longer-range aircraft.
Porter Airlines has revealed its ambitions to pursue further international routes with its newly delivered Embraer E195-E2 aircraft. The Canadian carrier has identified Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Orlando as among its possible future markets in the US.
The carrier already serves a handful of destinations in the US from its Canadian bases, including Boston (BOS), Chicago Midway (MDW), Washington Dulles (IAD), and Newark (EWR). Speaking at the Routes Americas 2023 conference in Chicago earlier this week, Porter Airlines’ vice president of network planning and reporting, Andrew Pierce, discussed the potential for further expansion south of the border, saying,
“There doesn’t seem to be an end of the demand to Florida. And the more I look at Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, the more I see what exciting markets they are for us.”
With a range of up to 2,300 miles, Porter Airlines’ new Embraer E195-E2s will be well-suited to cross-border operations. The carrier began operating the 132-seat aircraft in February this year, and currently has eight in its fleet, with a further 42 on order. In terms of delivery timescales, the airline’s fleet is expected to boast 30 Embraer E195-E2s by the end of this year, reaching a total of 50 by the end of 2024.
According to the latest data from ch-aviation.com, Porter Airlines’ fleet is also made up of 29 Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, each of which seats a maximum of 78 passengers in an all-economy configuration. These aircraft have an average age of 13.1 years old.
Replicating Toronto’s two-airport operation in Montreal
Pierce went on to comment on Porter Airlines’ recently-announced plans to redevelop Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport (YHU) and make it the carrier’s second base in the city of Montreal, after Montreal Trudeau International Airport (YUL). This would replicate the airline’s strategy in the city of Toronto, where it operates bases at both Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). Pierce said,
“If we get the right passenger experience to improve checkout times, improve security times and shorten the walk to some of the gates, [YHU] is potentially even better [than YUL]. I think YHU could therefore be a Billy Bishop version two.”
Further competition on the horizon
Aside from two Air Canada Express routes to Montreal Trudeau and Ottawa, Porter Airlines currently has a monopoly on all services operating out of Billy Bishop Toronto International Airport, although this may be about to change. As the carrier looks to further develop its potential south of the border, it will likely face competition on its flights to the US from newcomer Connect Airlines.
Photo: Connect Airlines
Connect Airlines hopes to begin operations later this year with a fleet of Dash 8-Q400s, and is expected to launch a series of new routes linking Toronto’s second-largest airport with destinations that include Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
Have you flown on Porter Airlines? Which routes do you see the carrier opening in the future? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.
Source: Aviation Week, ch-aviation.com