Jump to content

Porter, the little airline that certain experts on this forum said could never survive.


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

22 minutes ago, Super 80 said:

It will just be JetsGo all over again (not that I am suggesting Porter is going to go off-roading in an E-195).

I remember when the experts said Porter would never survive, yetttttt  .  So I hope the naysayers (and I don't think you were in that bunch) are once again Wrong. ?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But to remind those (Naysayers)....

History of Porter Airlines

  • Porter Airlines was established in early February, 2006, starting operations in late October of the same year. Its main operating hub is the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
  • In June 2007, Porter Airlines received official clearance from the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide scheduled and charter service. The airline’s first US destination was New York (Newark Liberty International Airport), at the end of March, 2008.
 
  • In June 2008, Porter Airlines introduced VIPorter, its frequent flyer program. Points collected can be redeemed for complimentary travel on Porter Airlines after only 5 one-way flights.
  • In June 2009, Porter Airlines upgraded the interior of its aircraft, the entire 12-aircraft Bombardier Q400 fleet, with ultra-comfortable Spectrum seating. Spectrum seats offer longer seat cushions, built-in headrests and larger meal trays. The seats also feature an extra half-inch of legroom. Porter’s 70-seat configuration provides two to three more inches than typical economy seating, up to 34 inches of seat pitch.
  • In July 2010, for the third year in a row, Porter Airlines was rated an Official 4 Star Airline by Skytrax, representing a recognized standard of quality performance across a broad range of product and service (service efficiency, lounge facilities, check-in services, baggage delivery). Porter Airlines is the only Canadian airline to be awarded a 4-Star ranking in the World Airline Star Rating.
  • In 2011, Porter Airlines, as the highest rated Canadian airline, received the second place in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Small Airlines category.
  • In 2012, Porter Airlines established its first interline partnership with Qatar Airways, continuing its plans to add multiple interline partners with another interline agreement with South African Airways.
  • In 2013, Porter Airlines became the first major Canadian airline to offer a baggage delivery guarantee, providing extra assurance for passengers.
  • On November 8, 2013, Porter Airlines carried passenger number 10 million in its history.
  • In late 2013, Porter added four additional seats to all of its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft, reaching a total of 74 seats per aircraft. Due to the length of the runway available on Billy Bishop, Porter Airlines’ aircraft had only 70 seats, instead of the usual 78 available in the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

  • In July 2016, Porter announced the firm purchase agreement of three additional Q400 planes, two expected to be delivered in December 2016 and the third in February 2017.

  • In April 2019, Porter Airlines reorganized its executive team to ensure continuity for its immediate and future development. Robert Deluce, Porter’s founding president and CEO, also assumed the new role of executive chairman. Porter Airlines is revolutionizing the term “regional airline” and, with a warm approach to hospitality, raising the bar and restoring glamour and refinement when it comes to short-haul flying.
  • Serving 23 regional destinations in Canada and the United States, Porter Airlines now operates a fleet of 29 Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
  • Despite various problems with the local community, concerned with noise and pollution caused by Porter Airlines’ aircraft, the airline managed to keep operate without any major incident so far.
  • There have been no deadly incidents involving Porter Airlines recorded so far.

History of Porter Airlines | SeatMaestro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

I remember when the experts said Porter would never survive, yetttttt  .  So I hope the naysayers (and I don't think you were in that bunch) are once again Wrong. ?  

I don't think you could find a more consistent defender of Porter's YTZ operation than myself.

Dumping capacity into YYZ on the other-hand and forcing a competitive response from WestJet and Air Canada in what will probably be a very fragile economic situation is quite another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Super 80 said:

I don't think you could find a more consistent defender of Porter's YTZ operation than myself.

Dumping capacity into YYZ on the other-hand and forcing a competitive response from WestJet and Air Canada in what will probably be a very fragile economic situation is quite another.

Who knows, they may be able to ride the wave.  WestJet for one is not enjoying good press right now nor are they exempt from union raids etc. No longer the "friendly airline" with guests or the employee owners rather than customers of the private owners..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hard to measure the reception until you know seating configurations, departure gates, slot times, etc. The nice thing about Porter to date is that it has been granted a virtual monopoly at a convenient airport for short-haul, with slot times to suit its ridership. The new terminal is spacious, the experience by virtue of it being under utilized is definitely different, especially if you live or work or are destined for downtown Toronto. YYZ, YUL, etc, are different experiences with no obvious advantages, no international feed traffic unless they hook up with OneWorld. That would put them in T3 in Toronto, so not at the Express Train station (which is at T1). AC has its best lounges at YYZ, YUL,etc, the better gates, well-established slot times. not only at YYZ, but everywhere else in Central Canada and the US northeast. And now that it owns Aeroplan again, it has the biggest stick by far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Porter Airlines to buy up to 80 new planes in major expansion

Including plans to fly into and out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport

porter0712.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=56

Mon Jul 12, 2021 - The Financial Post 
By Barbara Shecter

Quote

'Kokonis said if things go well, he would not be surprised to see the privately held company pursue in initial public offering in the next couple of years to fund further expansion and perhaps provide an exit for some shareholders.'

Porter Airlines is taking advantage of the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic to buy up to 80 new aircraft and vastly expand its flight network across North America and into Mexico and the Caribbean, including plans to fly into and out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Michael Deluce, who took over as chief executive in April 2019, less than a year before the pandemic, said the disruption that cost large national airlines more than 90 per cent of their pre-pandemic traffic allowed Porter to make deals to acquire the newEmbraer E195-E2 aircraft at a good price, hire pilots, and find room in competitive airports.

“The pandemic and the crisis that really the entire industry has gone through over the past 15 months has really opened up substantial opportunities in our view to shift the competitive landscape,” he said in an interview.

Scaling up as quickly and substantially “would have been much more challenging in a pre-pandemic world,” he said, adding that there has been “nothing comparable in this history of aviation.”

The Toronto-based regional airline grounded its fleet in March of 2020 when the global pandemic was declared and travel restrictions “made operating impossible,” Deluce said. But this also allowed Porter to cut costs, and regional flights from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport are now set to resume beginning Sept. 8. The expanded flights using the 120-seat to 146-seat planes with transcontinental rangewill begin in mid-2022.

Porter has made firm commitments to buy 30 planes, and has an option to purchase 50 additional aircraft. The total aircraft order is valued at up to US$5.82 billion at current list prices.

The purchase rights agreement includes a provision to convert to smaller E190-E2 aircraft, giving Porter the ability to introduce non-stop service in some markets where connecting flights are often the only option, and enable higher-frequency service for routes with greater demand.

In the past, the 15-year-old airline offered service to and from the northeastern United States and eastern Canadian destinations including Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax, all within about 1,600 miles of Toronto.

Porter, which entered the pandemic with little debt, secured additional government credit to shore up the balance sheet and offset risk as it recovers and expands, but doesn’t plan to tap much of it, Deluce said.

On June 30, Porter Aviation Holdings Inc., parent company of Porter Airlines, announced it had reached an agreement with the federal government for loans of up to $270.5 million, including $20.5 million dedicated to passenger refunds for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.

Analysts have suggested it could take years for the airline industry to recover from the pandemic. Deluce said he believes a return to pre-pandemic flights levels is achievable by 2023 or 2024, with pent-up demand for leisure travel evident as vaccination rates grow and travel restrictions decline. Business travel will take longer to recover, he said, but he predicts it will come back to previous levels.

Airline consultant Robert Kokonis said short-haul business travel, which was “in Porter’s wheelhouse” before the pandemic, is likely to be slowest to bounce back because companies may find it cheaper and equally productive to continue meeting by video-conferencing services such as Zoom and Skype.

“We’ll get back on the road again but my feeling is … if you’ve got a home office in Toronto and a big branch plant in Montreal and you used to go there every two weeks, maybe that trip is only going to happen once a month. Or if you used to go once a month, it’s going to be once a quarter,” said Kokonis, managing partner at AirTrav Inc.

“If that’s the case, by bringing these E2 jets in it opens up different types of flying and markets for Porter that previously they couldn’t have touched. So if you could launch a leisure flight to Vegas or L.A., it’s good news.”

He said Porter’s expansion plan is “bold” and “decisive” and also stakes a claim for the airline as the North American launch partner for Embraer’s fuel-efficient E2 aircraft.

Kokonis said if things go well, he would not be surprised to see the privately held company pursue in initial public offering in the next couple of years to fund further expansion and perhaps provide an exit for some shareholders.

In 2010, Porter shelved a planned IPO when the valuation offered did not meet expectations. A few years later, the carrier announced a plan to buy additional larger aircraft from Bombardier Inc., but hit a snag when an agreement could not be secured with federal and local authorities to extend the runway at Porter’s downtown Toronto airport to accommodate the planes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does strike me as interesting that Porter gets all that money from the Canadian government to buy Brazilian aircraft when the A220 is built in Canada.. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, GDR said:

It does strike me as interesting that Porter gets all that money from the Canadian government to buy Brazilian aircraft when the A220 is built in Canada.. 

Some of the A220s are built in Canada. 

but are the aircraft the same, load factor, cost,  range, etc?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Kargokings said:

Some of the A220s are built in Canada. 

but are the aircraft the same, load factor, cost,  range, etc?

 

The A220's built in the US are pretty much for the American carriers and the rest are primarily built in Canada. The A220 has better range with roughly the same seating. The A220 has two models that you can mix and match. The A220 is a little more costly but who knows what deals are available.
I guess I find it annoying that the govt' is happy to fund them but doesn't get the pay back by having insisting as a condition of the funds provided that it be with the Canadian built and designed aircraft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Porter Airlines CEO excited to see flights return to northern Ontario

From CBC News – link to source story

Company grounded since March 2020 looking to make triumphant return to skies

CBC News · July 27, 2021

e195.JPG Despite shutting down during the pandemic, Porter Airlines made plans to purchase 80 new E195 Embraer planes. (Porter Airlines)

The head of Porter Airlines says the ongoing pandemic, despite delivering a financial hit to the company, has allowed them to focus on work behind the scenes.

Michael Deluce, Porter’s president and CEO, said although the airline has been grounded since March 2020, they’ve used the time to purchase new planes to expand operations. 

“Certainly the Canadian aviation space has had a very challenging 16 months, unlike no other time in history,” Deluce said. “Porter took steps early on to suspend operations and relative to other carriers, we have fared reasonably well.”

That includes the purchase of 80 E-195 Embraer planes, which will run primarily out of Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa.

“They will allow Porter to extend its range from eastern Canada to all of North America, Canada, the U.S….Mexico and the Caribbean,” he said. 

Deluce says other existing aircraft were also refurbished, including the 29 dedicated to Northern Ontario routes, and he anticipates the full roster of flights will begin October 6.

“We have done a complete interior overhaul of those aircraft,” he said. “We have brand new seats and we have brand new carpet sidewalls, overhead bins. We’ve even restored the lavs.”

michael-deluce.jpg Michael Deluce is the CEO of Porter Airlines. (Linkedin- Michael Deluce)

Operations out of northern Ontario will begin a little sooner, September 8 on flights to Billy Bishop airport in Toronto.

“Since our inception, we’ve served all the major markets in the north, including Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay…and that will continue to be the case as we move forward,” he said. 

“I think by October 6, we’ll have all of our northern Ontario destinations up and running.”

Another incentive for returning passengers is the expansion of the airline’s payment options, as well as the introduction of ticket financing, Deluce said.

“When Porter returns to the air we’ll be seeing the Porter product at its absolute best,” he said. “And I think passengers are going to love returning to the skies on Porter.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/17/2021 at 6:48 PM, GDR said:

It does strike me as interesting that Porter gets all that money from the Canadian government to buy Brazilian aircraft when the A220 is built in Canada.. 

Porter would have bought the C series aircraft when it was still fully Canadian and showcased its urban capabilities years ago had it not been for the unilateral decision of liberals to end a transparent and democratic process that was underway. That would have likely made a substantial difference for the program and sustained it as a Canadian enterprise. In this new environment, it makes more economical sense to go with the E series, especially since they will not be flying from city airport. If a new federal government is supportive of the original Porter plans, they may be resurrected.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to see them back. Too bad that the government doesn't do what is best for Canada and listens to the Nimby's. The 220 would have made things quieter for them yet they are opposed to them. Which means they have an ulterior motive: Shut down the airport that is so useful to so many.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Porter ready for takeoff as business travel lags amid crowded skies

a-porter-airlines-plane.jpg

Fri Sep 03 - BNN Bloomberg
by Jon Mace

Quote

'Air Canada, however, is doing what it can to dampen Porter’s fanfare, announcing plans Friday to resume flights between Toronto and Montreal via Billy Bishop on the same day as Porter’s restart.'

After an 18-month hiatus, Porter Airlines is set to take to the skies again next week, but will be doing so with more competition for a segment it specialized prior to the onset of COVID-19: the business traveller.

The Toronto-based airline plans to come back to service on Sept. 8 with flights leaving the city's Billy Bishop Airport, a key hub for Canadian business travellers who may be eager to work despite the ongoing pandemic uncertainty.  

“When talking to CEOs, business travel is down a bit because they just Zoom in,” said Karl Moore, associate professor of Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, in an interview.

“A lot of executives say it’s harder to land new business if you can’t go visit the client. There’s something about going to a client’s site and seeing what they’re actually like.”

Porter operates Bombardier Inc.-built Q400 turboprop planes out of Billy Bishop, just a short hop from Bay Street, which helped the airline develop a core demographic of business travellers, said Moore.

Porter hasn’t missed out on much during its absence as the total number of Canadian airline passengers in 2020 fell to 45.9 million, a drop of 71.8 per cent from 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

chart.png

While Porter has been out of action longer than every other major Canadian airline, it also had the luxury of waiting out the various waves of COVID-19, since it doesn’t have the same shareholder pressures as rival Air Canada does, Moore said.

While demand for business-related flights is lower than it was in 2019, Moore said he doesn’t think the industry's outlook is as bleak as others might think.

Chris Murray, an airline analyst at ATB Capital Markets, agrees. While frequent flyers may be eager to get back on board, Murray thinks it could still be a while before the skies are chock-full of executives again.

“For the typical Porter type of traveller, a lot of those folks are still in a work-from-home mode, probably through the next couple months anyway,” said Murray in an interview.

“Our sentiment is the business traveller will come back. We may not see it really materialize maybe until sometime early next year.”

Murray noted the air travel restart kicked off with the so-called VFR crowd – visiting friends and relatives – followed by the longer haul vacation and leisure travel. He said the full recovery of business travel is likely the last piece of the puzzle, and added that Porter’s biggest challenge will be making sure it is adequately staffed to handle the ramp up in operation. 

WON’T BACK DOWN
Air Canada, however, is doing what it can to dampen Porter’s fanfare, announcing plans Friday to resume flights between Toronto and Montreal via Billy Bishop on the same day as Porter’s restart.

“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.” the company said in a release.

“Air Canada is not going to leave that Billy Bishop to Montreal route undefended,” said Murray. “That’s really the only one [route] Air Canada spends a lot of time competing directly with Porter on.”

LEARNING TO FLY (JETS)
That said, Porter is also making an attempt at moving in on Air Canada’s turf, announcing in July an order of 80 new jets from Brazilian plane-maker Embraer S.A. The plan is to eventually fly out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport to previously unreachable destinations in the U.S. and Caribbean, something that Porter has been looking to do for the past decade.

While being so close to downtown has been an asset for business travellers, the airline’s growth has always been restricted by its reliance on the turboprop, which can’t cover as much ground as a jet engine, Murray said. Jets are not permitted to land at Billy Bishop Airport due to government restrictions.

“It’s an opportunity for consumers,” said Moore. “If there’s more competition, prices and options will typically improve”.

While perhaps a boon to customers, Air Canada likely won’t see too much of an impact from increased competition out of Pearson.

“I think from Air Canada’s perspective, they’d never take a competitor like Porter lightly,” said Murray. “Having said that, its just one of several competitors they’ll be dealing with as we get travel restarted as now you’ve got Flair Airlines and several other regional carriers.”

Air Canada has no doubt benefited from Porter’s absence, but customers will come back, said Murray. He pointed to Porter’s strong brand and its loyal customers.

The real asset for Air Canada is international travel, and Murray indicated there are some promising signs on that front.

“Air Canada [recently] on its call talked about the fact that they’re starting to see bookings for the winter season to the Caribbean at levels above 2019. Certainly there’s a lot of pent-up demand.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Ready for takeoff: Porter Airlines CEO lays out plans for massive expansion and new destinations

Fri., Sept. 24, 2021 - The Toronto Star
By Jacob Lorinc - Business Reporter

Michael Deluce, the CEO of Porter Airlines and a master of understatement, has one word to describe his experience managing an airline during the most disruptive event in the centenarian history of commercial aviation:

“Different.”

In a matter of months, the Toronto-based airline grounded its flights, furloughed nearly all its workers, lost millions of dollars in customer revenue, received millions in government aid, and fought its airport landlord in court over $45 million in unpaid tenancy fees.

That’s certainly different. A more animated CEO might have used another term — “stressful,” maybe. “A real headache,” perhaps.

But Deluce sticks with “different.” And there may be good reason for his composure.

In recent months, the airline has been quietly preparing for an expansion that could shake up the Canadian airline industry.

Porter doubled its fleet size over the summer and launched plans to fly to and from Pearson airport, along with international airports in Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. It paid $5.82 billion for as many as 80 Embraer E195-E2 jets — a hefty discount, experts say — that will expand the company’s route catalogue to include sun destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean, starting in 2022.

“Sweetheart deal:” Porter doubles fleet size
The airline’s 30 new Embraer passenger jets are slated to take customers to sunny climes beginning in 2022
chunky2-01.svg

The services associated with Porter’s space at Billy Bishop airport — the comfy lounge, snacks, coffee and alcohol — will accompany the airline to its new locations, Deluce told the Star in an interview outlining his plans for the company.

“This is an investment in our future. Some of our larger competitors have lost billions in ways that will permanently impair their business going forward, and that leaves an opening for us,” he said.

“We’re going to deliver a superior product.”

Industry experts say the airline needed to grow to survive the pandemic. When lockdowns hit, Porter, along with smaller airlines like Sunwing and Air Transat, suspended their services and laid off most employees. The country’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, were dramatically reduced in size, laying off thousands of workers while cancelling flight routes on a near-monthly basis.

Porter’s flights from the Billy Bishop airport on the Toronto Islands only resumed this September, after an 18-month suspension.

Consumer habits shifted, too. Business travel capsized, while demand for leisure flights grew.

Throughout the lockdowns, the federal government doled out more than $7.3 billion in bailout money to Canada’s airlines. Porter, one of the first to take financial aid, received a $135-million loan from Export Development Canada in May 2020. It received another $270.5 million in repayable loans in July.

Federal bailouts received by Canadian airlines during the pandemic

chart1-01.svg

In the early months of 2021, while other airlines were negotiating the terms of bailouts with the department of finance, Porter purchased 30 Embraer passenger jets with the option to buy another 50.

The price the company paid for those jets was a “sweetheart deal” given the product, said John Gradek, a former Air Canada executive who now works as a faculty lecturer in aviation leadership at McGill University.

Aviation prices dropped during the pandemic while airline travel plummeted, allowing airlines with capital to get a discount on new assets.

“So now they’ve got these brand-new, wonderfully equipped jets that they got for a great price. That puts them in a nice position,” Gradek said.

Whether Porter can compete alongside the mega-airlines that dominate airports like Pearson remains to be seen. But Deluce says his airline can offer competitive prices and better services.

“We have deep pockets to make sure we can expand into a competitive environment,” he told the Star.

While Deluce insists the company won’t leave Billy Bishop airport, Porter’s expansion to new airports comes as it battles with the airport’s landlord — Nieuport Aviation — in court over the fees associated with parking airplanes.

The quarrelling companies fired a series of lawsuits at each other during the pandemic, each alleging that the other had violated their contractual obligations. Nieuport alleges Porter owes as much as $45 million in unpaid fees for their planes’ parking spaces. Porter argues the fees should have been waived during the pandemic’s harshest lockdowns, when the company could not profitably operate.

Porter locked in battle with island landlord

chunky1-02.svg

Details of the lawsuits reveal how Porter once threatened to leave Billy Bishop altogether in 2018 over its terminal fees, forecasting a $35-million loss in profit if it stayed at the airport.

Deluce says the company resolved those issues with Nieuport and has made Billy Bishop a “long-term part of our network.”

But the legal spat between the companies continues; their dispute goes to trial in November.

Gradek thinks the lawsuit is one of many ways the company is cutting down on expenses while financing its expansion — a cutthroat move by a company fighting to stay profitable.

“It’s an interesting business strategy, more than anything else,” Gradek told the Star. “The airport’s owners have to be careful, because Porter is their primary source of income, and now Porter has money sitting in the bank after not paying the rent at Billy Bishop.”

Legal action has worked to Porter’s advantage before. Deluce co-founded the company with his father, Robert Deluce, in 2006, amidst a bitter fight over the island airport.

A few years earlier, in 2002, the Toronto Ports Authority had announced a plan to improve access to what was then known as the Toronto City Centre Airport — a smaller property hosting only Air Canada’s Jazz flights to Ottawa — by including a $15-million bridge from the downtown core to the airport.

When the bridge was abruptly cancelled over political opposition, Robert Deluce — who was supposed to operate an airline at the renewed airport — launched a $505-million lawsuit against the city and federal government. He received an unspecified settlement in 2006 and bought the airport building shortly thereafter, quickly cancelling Jazz’s lease.

Porter moved into the airport within the year, though restrictions on plane size have kept it from flying routes outside North America.

“Michael is building on this big vision his dad had,” said Robert Kokonis, founder of Toronto-based aviation consulting firm AirTrav.

“In order to grow, he now has to look around at other airports in this country and beyond.”

Kokonis says the company’s expansion is a way of protecting itself from the decline of business travel, one of Porter’s core offerings at Billy Bishop.

“The impact of virtual calls and remote work will have a hangover effect on business travel,” said Kokonis. “By moving flights to Pearson, they have an opportunity to tap into a larger segment of leisure consumers.”

Deluce knows this. The new planes and airport locations give the company flexibility, allowing it to shift away from business travel as necessary. “Business travel will be one of the last segments of the market to recover, and it’s uncertain whether it will ever recover entirely or not,” he said.

Things will be different, is what he’s saying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where will they get the crews for all these aircraft who have enough experience? We were hiring new hire FOs with 2500 hours before the slowdown. And unless they up their pay structure significantly, I can’t see experienced crews flocking to their interviews. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, North of You said:

Where will they get the crews for all these aircraft who have enough experience? We were hiring new hire FOs with 2500 hours before the slowdown. And unless they up their pay structure significantly, I can’t see experienced crews flocking to their interviews. 

 

 

My guess is that Jazz will be a significant source of experienced E-jet pilots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share




×
×
  • Create New...