Porter exploits downtown niche in Toronto; starts Thunder Bay services in June

Image: Porter airlines
Picture competition: Try and guess where this is. Clue: The airline and Toronto City Centre airport have a common shareholder.

Porter Airlines, which began operations on 23 October 2006, is in the unusual position that its parent company also owns the only terminal at the airport from which it operates, Toronto City Centre airport. With a longest runway of just 1,200 metres Porter currently operates a fleet of 10 Bombardier Q400s (it has several more on order) built locally in Toronto and equipped with just 70 seats providing a comfortable 34 inch seat pitch.

Four main routes; two to Canada, two to the US

Porter’s focus is on time-conscious business travellers and so frequency is critical. Four main destinations are currently served; domestic routes to Montreal and Ottawa, and New York Newark and Chicago Midway in the US. All routes are served at least six times each week day with fewer flights at weekends.

Chart: Porter routes from Toronto city centre
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009
* Via Ottawa

New York services to Newark will be celebrating their first anniversary next week, while Chicago Midway flights began last November. Frequencies to Ottawa will increase from 10 daily flights on week days to 14 starting 30 April, while Montreal service will increase from nine daily to 14 daily from 14 April before increasing still further to 18 daily from 6 May. “With peak-time flights regularly operating at capacity on our busiest routes, the added flights are necessary for meeting the obvious passenger demand,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “We’re giving Porter customers what they’ve asked for with more flights at times that matter to them on these crucial routes.”

Thunder Bay first of several new routes

Image: Piggybank

Flights to Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario will begin on 26 June with three daily round-trip services on weekdays and two on Saturday and Sunday. Air Canada (46 weekly departures) and Westjet (14 weekly departures) both currently operate from Thunder Bay to Toronto Pearson airport. Westjet’s larger aircraft means that it operates only 16% fewer seats on the route than Air Canada. Porter’s 19 weekly flights will add some 25% more seat capacity into the market.

According to a map in the autumn/winter edition of the airline’s in-flight magazine (neatly called “re:porter”) other proposed routes include Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and Windsor in Canada, and Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington in the US.

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  1. Vanni Gibertini says:

    Porter has recently announced they will increase the frequencies on YUL-YTZ during weekdays from nine daily to fourteen daily on April 14 and to eighteen daily on May 6. It looks like they are after Air Canada

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