Toronto-based Porter Airlines has ambitions to expand beyond its current regional routes in eastern North America to become a bigger player across the continent.
It’s being tight-lipped about where those new destinations will be beyond stating they are considering routes in the west, the southern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. One map of potential destinations includes numerous American destinations such such as Miami and Los Angeles along with much of western Canada.
The expansion will be made possible once they receive delivery by mid-2022 of 80 new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft which have transcontinental range. It will be the first airline to operate these planes in North America.
The aircraft are being acquired by Porter Aircraft Leasing Corp., a sister company of Porter Airlines. The total aircraft order is valued at up to US$5.82 billion at current list prices, with 30 firm commitments and 50 purchase right options.
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.
“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,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines.
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 E2s will not operate at this airport.
The E195-E2 accommodates between 120 and 146 passengers.