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A Porter Airlines Q400 taking off. (Photo: BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada (Monday evening departure) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Porter Airlines Postpones Flight Restart Date to June 21

On Monday, Toronto-based Porter Airlines announced it has postponed its restart date to June 21, over a month past its initial relaunch date of May 19. According to the carrier, several factors are impacting the delay, including travel restrictions, low passenger demand and a closed U.S.-Canada border.

 Grounded Since March 2020

Porter Airlines suspended operations in March 2020 but was optimistic about restarting flights by June 1, 2020. However, due to COVID-19’s spread, nonessential travel between the United States and Canada was suspended, and Porter has been grounded ever since.

Fortunately, the carrier received a bailout of about CA$135 million ($96 million USD) through Export Development Canada. The airline put up a portion of its Bombardier Dash 8 fleet as security to secure the funding. The company owns most of its fleet, with debts owed on only three aircraft, so the planes were essential in surviving the pandemic.

Now, after over a year of collecting dust, Porter is confident it will begin flying again by June 21, 2021.

The company said in a news release, “We want to see our planes in the sky as soon as possible and are actively working to prepare for our resumption of service. However, the ongoing uncertainty presented by government travel restrictions, including border closures, is impacting our ability to operate flights.”

“We are closely watching developments and know that Porter will be an important part of providing people with travel options as the economy recovers. Porter is preparing to introduce enhanced health and safety measures for its return to service. Details of these initiatives will be announced closer to when flights restart, so that plans are as closely aligned with the latest public health recommendations as possible,” the statement continued.

Porter’s Fleet and Routes

Porter is based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. It is a regional airline that serves 17 cities in Canada and five destinations in the United States, featuring Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., New York and Myrtle Beach. Destinations in Canada include Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton, Mont Tremblant, Montréal, Muskoka, Ottawa, Québec City, Saint John, NB, Sault Ste. Marie, St John’s, NL, Stephenville, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto and Windsor.

Porter is partnered with JetBlue Airways, which connects Porter passengers to destinations across the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Porter’s fleet consists of 29 Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft, 27 of which are parked and two currently in service. According to SimpleFlying, the only flights Porter has operated since last year have been for tests, maintenance and charters. However, commercial service is still suspended, and considering Ontario’s new lockdown measures, it is uncertain if June 21 will be the golden date.

Nevertheless, people are purchasing flights and the company is preparing for the summer travel season. For peace of mind, Porter is offering free changes and cancellations for future travel booked between now and June 21.

Taylor Rains
Taylor Rains
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