Commercial service at Billy Bishop airport back up and running after 18-month shutdown

From CBC News – link to source story

Toronto’s island airport reopens as Porter makes plans to expand to Pearson

CBC News · Posted: Sep 08, 2021

The first flights in 18 months took off Wednesday from Billy Bishop airport. (Oliver Walters/CBC)

Commercial service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is back after an 18-month pause due to the pandemic. 

“To say that this is a momentous day is probably an understatement,” said Geoffrey Wilson, the CEO for PortsToronto, the agency that owns and operates Billy Bishop.

Toronto Mayor John Tory was also on hand for the occasion, calling the reopening a sign of hope and a reason for optimism. 

“We are making progress along that path towards a more normal life,” Tory said. 

Wilson also said the restart date of Sept. 8 was particularly significant because it’s the 82nd anniversary of the first commercial flight ever to arrive at Toronto’s island airport. 

Routes coming back in stages 

Porter Airlines will be resuming its flights in stages with routes to Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay starting up first. 

Air Canada, the other airline that uses the airport, restarts its Montreal route on Wednesday as well. 

Porter announced last month that staff would need to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative for the novel coronavirus before the start of every shift, adding that policy could evolve as details are released on Ottawa’s plan to mandate vaccination for all federally regulated workers. 

Air Canada has taken an even harder line, deciding not to offer rapid testing as an alternative for employees who refuse to be vaccinated and threatening unpaid leave or termination for workers who don’t have their shots by the end of October. 

“We’re still in a pandemic, we’ve got to be vigilant. We’ve got to make sure people are safe and vaccinated,” said Wilson on Wednesday. 

Expansion to Pearson up ahead

Billy Bishop is reopening as Porter prepares to expand its business to Pearson International Airport — entering a new phase of competition with Canada’s bigger airlines. 

In July, the company placed an order for up to 80 new jets from the Brazilian aviation firm Embraer to be used at Pearson, with Porter president and CEO Michael Deluce saying at the time he saw opportunities to service the southern U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico.

Several years ago, Porter tried to get clearance to fly passenger jets out of Billy Bishop but that bid was scuttled due to opposition from waterfront residents and the newly elected federal Liberals in 2015.

The airline also plans to continue to use Billy Bishop for flights with its existing fleet of turboprop aircraft. 

Though Porter opted to take a federal loan over the summer to help its post-pandemic recovery, Deluce said on Wednesday that the company had entered the pandemic with a “very strong balance sheet.”

“That allowed us to make the choice to purchase some new aircraft,” Deluce said. “Really, it is a vision beyond the pandemic in 2022.”

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Sets Course for a Return to Commercial Service as Porter Airlines and Air Canada Resume Operations September 8

September 8 restart comes after 18-month temporary suspension of commercial service due to COVID-19 pandemic

TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport today celebrates a return to the skies with the restart of commercial airline service by Porter Airlines and Air Canada after temporarily suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Billy Bishop Airport’s staff, stakeholders and government partners marked the day and recognized the conclusion of a difficult period for the aviation industry by welcoming back passengers and getting back to the business of making connections and supporting Toronto’s economy. The commercial restart coincidentally takes place on the 82nd anniversary of the island airport’s very first commercial flight in 1939.

Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport, was joined by His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, and Michael Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines in offering remarks to celebrate the occasion. Passengers and staff were treated to giveaways and prizes, and a commemorative first flight to Ottawa attended by key stakeholders and partners was “readied for takeoff” with a special water canon salute performed by the airport’s onsite Airport Rescue and Firefighting team.

On September 8 Air Canada will restart its service to Montreal, while Porter Airlines will phase in   its scheduled offering with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto. Halifax, Moncton, Quebec City and St. John’s, NL, return over the next 10 days, while U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington are planned to follow on September 17. Remaining year-round markets served by Porter begin on October 6.

Quotes

Geoffrey Wilson, CEO, PortsToronto
“This is a day that we have all been looking forward to and planning for since March 2020, when the pandemic emerged and our world changed overnight. Today we mark a return to commercial service at Billy Bishop Airport and a return to the business, passengers and experiences that make our airport truly unique and inspire our love of travel. The restart of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is also an important component of the City of Toronto’s recovery strategy as our restart means a return of jobs, a return of trade and tourism, and a return of a valuable gateway to one of the best cities in the world.”

John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
“The restart of commercial service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is an important sign of the progress we have made combatting the pandemic and getting residents vaccinated. We are safely reopening our city and I’m so confident that our economic recovery will be a success. Toronto will come back stronger than ever thanks to all of our collective efforts across the city. I want to thank everyone who has worked on the airport restart effort. Today we are welcoming back commercial service and all that it brings with it – more jobs, more business, and more tourism.”

Michael Deluce, CEO, Porter Airlines
“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport remains as the world’s best urban airport and everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again.”

Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management, Air Canada
“Air Canada is very pleased to offer customers the option of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport when travelling to Montreal or connecting beyond from there on our extensive global network. We are returning with a schedule of five, conveniently timed return trips each day, and we look forward to expanding our daily services as more traffic returns.”

Quick Facts

  • In July 2021, Billy Bishop Airport achieved certification from the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program, which assesses and validates new health measures and procedures required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force recommendations.
  • Billy Bishop Airport is proud of its Safe Travels Program which was introduced to ensure that all necessary precautions and public health protocols associated with air travel are in place. This program is complemented by programs in place with each of its carriers – Porter Airlines’ Healthy Flights program and Air Canada’s CleanCare+ program, and is inclusive of all airport partners including Nieuport Aviation (terminal owners/operators); Stolport (parking) as well as government agencies including CATSA (screening and security) and CBSA (border protection).
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – then called Port George VI Island Airport – welcomed its first commercial flight on September 8, 1939. The famed musician Tommy Dorsey and his swing band were aboard that first flight as the band had been invited to play at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). This was also the first airliner from the US to arrive at the island airport.

About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Offering service to more than 20 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connection opportunities to more than 80 international destinations via our airlines’ networks, Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, generating more than $470 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year and supporting 4,740 jobs, including 2,080 directly associated with the airport operations. Billy Bishop Airport is renowned for its unique travel experience, efficiency and customer service and has won a series of passenger-driven awards.

About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.

Porter Airlines returns to the air

TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

Flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay are the first to restart. Other Canadian destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, and Moncton. U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6, with all routes currently available for booking. The initial flight schedule can be found at www.flyporter.com.

“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “We currently have over 900 team members who have put in countless hours to get everything ready for our return to service, with more being recalled or hired every week. Everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory joins the celebrations at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Porter has strengthened its existing standards with a focus on high levels of sanitization in order to protect the health of its passengers and team members. More information about the Healthy Flights program can be found on Porter’s website.

In addition to Healthy Flights, Porter has also introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for its team members. To support a safe and healthy workplace and travel experience, team members must present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift or be fully vaccinated. The Canadian federal government announced in August its intention to mandate vaccination for federally-regulated workers; once specific details are known, Porter’s policy may evolve.

Bookings made before Sept. 30, will be eligible to change or cancel with no fees. Passengers also have the option to book a flight with the Full Refund Option for $40 plus taxes. The Refund Option entitles customers to receive a refund, including base fare, taxes and fees, for their booking upon advance cancellation of their flight for any reason.

About Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines provides a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L.

Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Details of growth plans to provide North America-wide service are available at flyporter.com. 

Air Canada Resumes Service Between Montreal and Toronto Island Airport Beginning September 8

MONTREAL, Sept. 3, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it will resume service to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Toronto Island beginning September 8, 2021 with five daily return flights to Montreal. Seats are available for booking at aircanada.com, via the Air Canada App, Air Canada’s Contact Centres and travel agencies.

“We are pleased to restart our operations at Billy Bishop airport and offer our customers the choice to fly in and out of Toronto Island, which is popular among business travellers for its proximity to the city centre and its ability to connect travellers to our global network through Montreal. Our schedule enables travellers to conveniently fly between Montreal and Toronto Island Airport up to five times per day, linking the two key business and cultural centres as we continue to play our part to reinvigorate Canada’s economy. We look forward to welcoming our customers back on board and expanding our daily service as more traffic returns,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

Air Canada’s Toronto Island-Montreal Service

FlightDepartsArrivesDays of Operation
AC7952Toronto at 07:15Montreal at 08:27Daily
AC7958Toronto at 10:20Montreal at 11:33Daily
AC7970Toronto at 16:15Montreal at 17:28Daily
AC7976Toronto at 17:15Montreal at 18:28Daily
AC7974Toronto at 18:20Montreal at 19:33Daily
AC7959Montreal at 07:30Toronto at 08:49Daily
AC7955Montreal at 08:30Toronto at 09:49Daily
AC7965Montreal at 13:30Toronto at 14:49Daily
AC7971Montreal at 16:30Toronto at 17:49Daily
AC7975Montreal at 18:30Toronto at 19:49Daily

Service to Toronto Island will be operated by Air Canada Express Jazz with a De Havilland Dash 8-400 featuring a complimentary snack and drink. All customers can collect and redeem Aeroplan Points through Canada’s leading loyalty program when travelling with Air Canada, and eligible customers have access to priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounges at Canadian airports, priority boarding and other benefits.  Air Canada’s commercial schedule may be adjusted as required based on the COVID-19 trajectory and government restrictions.

Air Canada offers its customers complimentary shuttle bus service between downtown and Toronto City Airport. The shuttle brings travellers to and from the west entrance of The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, located at the corner of Front and York streets, directly across from Union Station.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2019, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. 

Porter Airlines expanding service across North America by acquiring up to 80 Embraer E195-E2s

TORONTO, July 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines is extending its award-winning service to destinations throughout North America with the introduction of up to 80 state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Embraer E195-E2 aircraft into its fleet. The planes have transcontinental range and will enter into service with Porter starting in the second half of 2022.

Porter is Embraer’s North American launch customer for the E2. The total aircraft order is valued at up to USD $5.82 billion at current list prices, with 30 firm commitments and 50 purchase right options. The aircraft are being acquired by Porter Aircraft Leasing Corp., a sister company of Porter Airlines. This investment enhances competition, elevates passenger service levels and creates as many as 6,000 new jobs based on 80 aircraft deliveries.

Porter Airlines is extending its award-winning service to destinations throughout North America with the introduction of up to 80 state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Embraer E195-E2 aircraft into its fleet. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines is extending its award-winning service to destinations throughout North America with the introduction of up to 80 state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Embraer E195-E2 aircraft into its fleet. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
The E195-E2’s range allows for the creation of a continental route network. Potential markets reach coast to coast in Canada and the United States, including U.S. sun destinations, plus Mexico and the Caribbean. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
The E195-E2’s range allows for the creation of a continental route network. Potential markets reach coast to coast in Canada and the United States, including U.S. sun destinations, plus Mexico and the Caribbean. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

The ability to convert purchase rights to smaller E190-E2s is included in the agreement. This provides opportunities to introduce non-stop service in markets where connecting flights are often the only option today. It also enables higher-frequency service for routes with greater demand.

Porter intends to operate the E2s to popular destinations from Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Toronto Pearson International Airport. The introduction of specific routes will be determined in advance of aircraft deliveries.

“We are bringing Porter’s distinct style of service to dozens of new North American cities,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “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.”

While establishing service at Pearson Airport for the first time, 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. Service is confirmed to restart at Billy Bishop on Sept. 8, following a temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions. The airport is essential to the airline’s immediate plans for re-establishing flights and developing future routes. The E2s will not operate at this airport.

“Our commitment to Billy Bishop Airport is not changing,” said Robert Deluce, founder and executive chairman, Porter Airlines. “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.”

Porter set a new standard for regional flying when it took off in 2006. Its Flying Refined brand promise emphasizes bringing dignity and ease to travel, with an elevated, high-value experience. Complimentary beer and wine served in glassware, and premium snacks for all passengers are recognizable hallmarks of every flight. The airline is planning to enhance its award-winning customer experience and transform travel again in the wider North American market.

The E195-E2’s range allows for the creation of a continental route network. Potential markets reach coast to coast in Canada and the United States, 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 E195-E2 accommodates between 120 and 146 passengers. The interior complements Porter’s traditional service offering, with a passenger-focused design emphasizing space and comfort. Features include aisle or window seating for every passenger, with no middle seats, plus large windows and overhead bins, and cabin mood lighting. Porter is currently finalizing its preferred configuration and additional passenger experience details, such as in-flight entertainment and onboard service.

“With this order for up to 80 of our largest aircraft, the E2 is making a stunning North American debut,” said Arjan Meijer, president and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. As the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in the segment, the E195-E2 also delivers excellent economic performance that shines through.”

The E2 is the most environmentally-friendly single-aisle aircraft family, measured by sound and CO2 emissions. The E195-E2 is certified to the strictest international standard for aircraft noise, at 65% quieter than previous generation types. Carbon emissions are nearly 10% lower per trip, with up to 25% less CO2 emissions per seat. Combined with Porter’s existing De Havilland Dash 8-400s, the airline will have one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable commercial aircraft fleets.

Canada-based aerospace companies contribute greater than 37% of the E2’s main systems. The engines are produced by Pratt & Whitney Canada in Quebec, with revolutionary geared-turbofan technology being the most significant component of the aircraft’s incredible fuel efficiency and minimal sound profile. Additionally, Ontario-based Thales produces select avionics and Quebec-based Alta Precision the main landing gear. Porter’s purchase supports skilled jobs and ongoing innovation within this important economic sector.

“The support of our board of directors and shareholders was crucial in deciding to invest in Porter’s future,” said Don Carty, chairman of the board, Porter Airlines. “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.”

Funds for the aircraft purchase are being raised privately from shareholders, as well as through aircraft sale-leaseback agreements.

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

About Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines provides a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L.

Visit www.flyporter.com

Billy Bishop Airport to Resume Commercial Airline Service on September 8, 2021


Island airport will call back staff and ramp-up operations to prepare for a return to commercial operations

TORONTO, July 5, 2021 /CNW/ – PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, is pleased to confirm that commercial airline service to/from the downtown airport will resume September 8, 2021, with the announced restart of Porter Airlines on that day. Porter Airlines will phase in its scheduled service to/from Toronto, offering flights to/from Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay on September 8, with eight more destinations being brought online the week of September 13. Air Canada is expected to restart its Montreal service in September as well.

Billy Bishop Airport to resume commercial airline service on September 8, 2021. (CNW Group/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport)
Billy Bishop Airport to resume commercial airline service on September 8, 2021. (CNW Group/Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport)

“PortsToronto is pleased to confirm that Billy Bishop Airport will resume commercial airline operations on September 8, 2021, and has begun the process of recalling staff, preparing the airport, and counting down the days until we can welcome back travellers to our successful and award-winning airport,” said Geoffrey Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, PortsToronto. “Billy Bishop Airport is an asset to the city of Toronto and surrounding region given its impact on supporting the economy, facilitating trade and tourism, and providing thousands of jobs. Billy Bishop Airport will play a significant role in the economic recovery of our city and province, and we are excited to ramp up our operations and get back to the business of connecting travellers to the people, places, experiences and jobs they love.”

Commercial aircraft service was temporarily suspended at Billy Bishop Airport in March 2020, as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic and associated travel restrictions. The airport remained open during the pandemic to ensure continued operations for Ornge medevac service, and to serve regional carriers such as FlyGTA and Cameron Air, general aviation pilots, and tour operators such as Helitours.

Prior to the pandemic, Billy Bishop Airport welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers per year, supported more than 4,700 jobs, and generated $470 million in GDP. The airport looks forward to returning to these levels of service and positive impact. Air travel has already begun to rebound in many markets around the world, with the U.S. reporting a return to 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in May 2021, and expectations for further growth as summer approaches.

Billy Bishop Airport launched its Safe Travels Program in recent months to prepare the airport and its travellers for new and updated public health protocols associated with travel. This program is complemented by programs in place with each of its carriers – Porter Airlines’ Healthy Flights program and Air Canada’s CleanCare+ program.

About PortsToronto (https://www.portstoronto.com)
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.

Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8

U.S. flights start on Sept. 17

TORONTO, July 5, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines is officially returning to the skies on Sept. 8, nearly 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

The flight schedule is returning in phases, with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, Thunder Bay and Toronto. U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington follow on Sept. 17.

U.S. flights start on September 17 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
U.S. flights start on September 17 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines confirms restart of service to select Canadian destinations beginning Sept. 8 (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

“This is the moment our team members, passengers and the communities we serve have been waiting for,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “The pandemic has progressed to the point that we can now begin restoring service across our network, focused around our main base at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Being grounded for more than a year has been incredibly difficult for everyone involved. In true Porter fashion, our team members have displayed remarkable levels of commitment, engagement and optimism over this uncertain period of time, despite the vast majority being unable to work. While deciding to suspend our service was the most difficult business decision we’ve made, announcing a restart of flights is the first step in a recovery process that includes recalling hundreds of team members and welcoming back passengers. We are looking forward to once again delivering Porter’s unique style of service.”

Approximately 500 team members will be recalled to active status as the first phase of flights are introduced. More staff will be added in subsequent months as flights and destinations return to the schedule.

The initial flight schedule is as follows:

Canadian Routes*Peak daily roundtripsService start date
Ottawa – Toronto6 flightsSept. 8
Montreal – Toronto6 flightsSept. 8
Thunder Bay – Toronto3 flightsSept. 8
Ottawa – Halifax2 flightsSept. 13
Montreal – Halifax1 flightSept. 13
Quebec City – Toronto1 flightSept. 13
Halifax – St. John’s1 flightSept. 17
Moncton – Ottawa1 flightSept. 17
U.S. Routes*
New York (Newark) – Toronto6 fightsSept. 17
Boston – Toronto3 flightsSept. 17
Chicago (Midway) – Toronto2 flightsSept. 17
Washington (Dulles) – Toronto1 flightSept. 17
* All Toronto routes operate at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Schedules vary by day of week.

Flights to other year-round destinations normally operated by Porter are currently available for booking and set to resume as of Oct. 6. Service is returning based on anticipated passenger demand, with frequency and markets increasing over time.

To provide flexibility and give travellers peace of mind when purchasing for future travel, Porter is making all fares purchased by July 20, for travel through December 15, 2021, fully refundable, with no fees. This also applies to Porter Escapes vacation packages.

In preparation for its resumption of service, Porter is introducing a comprehensive program to protect the health of its passengers and team members. Healthy Flights strengthens existing standards focusing on high levels of sanitization.

“Our safety team developed Healthy Flights as more than a checklist of rules and procedures,” said Deluce. “They carefully considered how to provide a safe experience for our passengers and team members, while being true to our distinct brand and approach to service.”

Detailed information about Healthy Flights is available online.

About Porter Airlines
Porter Airlines has revolutionized short-haul flying with a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline®in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L. Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Porter in talks with Pearson, other airports for passenger jet service

By ERIC ATKINS, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER & ANDREW WILLIS & NICOLAS VAN PRAET | MAY 20, 2021

A Porter Airlines flight makes its final approach as it lands at the airport on July 2, 2019 in Ottawa. ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Porter Airlines has approached Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and other airports in southern Ontario about establishing a passenger jet service postpandemic, sources say, a shift in strategy for the carrier that is blocked from flying jets at its base on the Toronto Islands.

Porter’s move comes as the carrier is reportedly buying 30 passenger jets from Embraer of Brazil.

Porter has long sought to fly jets out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, but those plans have been prevented by the federal government owing to concerns that include noise, pollution and the impact of the longer runway that would be required.

“We’re not relocating from Billy Bishop to any airport,” said Brad Cicero, a Porter spokesman, who declined to address a question about seeking slots at Toronto Pearson.

Porter’s founder and executive chairman Robert Deluce did not respond to interview requests. Porter declined to make Michael Deluce, the founder’s son and current chief executive, available for an interview.

Porter’s talks with the airport authorities are preliminary, according to two people familiar with the matter whom the Globe and Mail agreed not to name because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

In addition to Toronto Pearson, Porter has approached airports including Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener and London, one of the sources said. The airports declined to comment or did not respond to interview requests.

On May 13, trade publication Airfinance Journal reported Porter is the buyer of 30 Embraer E195 E2 jets, a narrow-body medium-range jet that seats as many as 150 people. Embraer declined by e-mail to name the buyer of the jets.

Porter flies a fleet of 29 Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes that hold about 65 to 78 people.

Mr. Cicero would not answer questions about the reported purchase of the Embraer planes. “This isn’t our order,” he said. “We have no plans to switch our fleet. Our focus continues to be on relaunching operations in 2021 with the existing Dash 8-400 fleet.”

John Gradek, who teaches aviation leadership at McGill University, said Porter has no room to grow at its Toronto island airport base, and is forced to fly planes at less-than capacity owing to the short, 3,900-foot runway. He speculated the airline is relaunching itself with a new fleet prior to a sale. (Porter’s public offering in 2010 failed.)

“It’s a radical departure from the airline that we know,” said Addison Schonland of boutique aerospace consultancy AirInsight. “The business model looks like it is changing.”

Porter in 2013 placed a $2-billion conditional order for as many as 30 Bombardier CSeries jets, now known as the Airbus A220. The airline sought to extend the island airport runway by 200 metres to accommodate the larger aircraft but faced stiff local opposition.

In 2015, then transport minister Marc Garneau blocked Porter’s plans to fly jets from the island.

That decision stands, a spokeswoman for current Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. “Our government has no plans to amend the tripartite agreement between the federal government, the City of Toronto and PortsToronto to allow jet aircraft to use Billy Bishop Airport,” Allison St-Jean said.

“There are no plans or negotiations to discuss jets at Billy Bishop Airport with either of our tripartite partners,” said Deborah Wilson, a spokeswoman for PortsToronto, the government agency that owns and operates the airport.

An Airbus spokeswoman said: “While we of course would welcome more Canadian carriers to select the Canadian designed and built A220, we do not comment on discussion we may or may not be having with airlines.”

Porter’s 2013 order is not part of Airbus’s backlog list, which had 494 planes ordered but not yet built at the end of April, 2021. Airbus is building A220 jets at a rate of five a month in factories in Mirabel, Que. and Mobile, Ala., with plans to expand output when appropriate to a maximum of 14 planes a month.

Porter, which has not flown since March 21, 2020, owing to the pandemic, recently pushed back its relaunch date to July 20.

Privately-owned Porter, which employed 1,500 before the pandemic, flies to several Canadian, U.S. and holiday destinations, but is perhaps best known for business travel given its proximity to downtown Toronto. Business travel is expected to recover from the pandemic last, after family-related flights and tourism.

In good times, Porter accounts for 85 per cent of plane traffic at the island airport, while Air Canada makes up the rest. Porter sold the airport terminal to Nieuport Aviation, controlled by New York-based J.P. Morgan Asset Management Inc., in 2015 for more than $700-million.

Neil Pakey, CEO of Nieuport, declined to comment on Porter’s plan for jets at other airports. Mr. Pakey said he and the airline are focused on Porter’s restart in July.

Porter’s talks come as it continues discussions with the federal government over financial aid to blunt the effects of the pandemic on the business. In March, 2020, the airline received a $135-million loan through Export Development Canada and indicated earlier in May that it is in negotiations for more aid. The government has said any help from the taxpayer comes with conditions that include “protecting jobs across the air sector.”

The return of Air Canada Fan Flight celebrates community leaders with a special tribute

Air Canada Fan Flight rewards deserving sports fans across the country with unique experiences

 As Canada’s national carrier, we take enormous pride in supporting the country’s teams, but also recognizing sports fans for making a difference in their communities. Join us in celebrating these Canadian community leaders!

Air Canada Fan Flight is celebrating deserving sports fans with one-of-a-kind experiences. While the global pandemic may have changed the Air Canada Fan Flight experience – which previously included Home Game experiences and Fly Aways to see Canadian NHL and NBA teams on the road – what hasn’t changed is Air Canada’s commitment to celebrating sports fans. That’s why Air Canada decided to keep the spirit of the program going this year, and reimagined Air Canada Fan Flight by surprising inspiring community leaders, who were selected through the Air Canada Foundation, with a personalized jersey and video message from their favourite Head Coach. Beyond that, these sports fans were also promised the opportunity to see their team live in action and travel with Air Canada at any time in the future, along with Aeroplan points to enhance their travel experience.

Tara, Toronto — Tara’s a die-hard hockey fan, a volunteer with MLSE LaunchPad’s Youth Council since its inception, and a strong and active voice for the local Black community. A truly deserving Air Canada Fan Flight recipient!

Zachary, Montreal

A young baker with heart, since the beginning of the pandemic, Zachary has used his great grandmother’s scone recipe to support local foodbanks through La Tablée des Chefs, baking over 1,500 scones, a dozen at a time. This Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for those hard-working shifts!

Link to video

Determined to amplify BIPOC voices in Toronto and beyond, Olu’s dedication as a Youth Mentor helps build relationships with the local community, and makes him a role model. Congrats for making your mark and being an Air Canada Fan Flight recipient!
Kevin, Calgary — As the Executive Director of HEROS Hockey, a charity that uses hockey to empower marginalized youth, Kevin has impacted hundreds of families in Calgary and beyond over the past 15 years. In recognition of his guidance, this Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for him!
Jasmine, Vancouver — Jasmine is a BC Children’s Hospital employee and mental health advocate who inspires friends and colleagues alike. In promoting mental health, we’re proud to celebrate Jasmine and her Air Canada Fan Flight surprise.
Dominick, Winnipeg — Dominick is a perfect example of combining passion for a sport with giving back to the community. He is an inspiration for his teammates and younger players by giving back old equipment to his hockey program. This Air Canada Fan Flight surprise is for you Dominick!
Megan, Edmonton — A winner since day one, in two years with SUPER HEROS, Meghan has grown from a quiet player into a leader, taking her team through warm-ups and cool-downs, with her service dog Wilber by her side. Meghan is an Air Canada Fan Flight recipient and a true team player!