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Porter Continues Its Coast-to-Coast Expansion

Porter Airlines’ Embraer 195-E2 (Photo: Embraer)

Porter Airlines is continuing its jet expansion with a series of new route announcements. The three latest additions to the airline’s network are a part of its Toronto Pearson International Airport operations and span from coast-to-coast.

Expanding Westwards and Eastwards

Porter has recently announced new routes from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Victoria International Airport in British Columbia, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Manitoba and St. John’s International Airport in Newfoundland and Labrador. All three routes will be operated by Porter’s Embraer E195-E2 jets.

The latest announcement came on June 27, 2023, when Porter announced a new service between Toronto and Victoria. The route will operate once daily commencing on Sept. 20, 2023. Victoria is located in the westernmost Canadian province of British Columbia on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

“We are truly pleased to see Porter add new Victoria-Toronto service,” said Geoff Dickson, President and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority in a press release.  “The new E195-E2 aircraft and Porter’s exceptional service offering is a welcome addition to the Victoria market. We appreciate the new service and look forward to working with them to ensure the route’s success.”

The week prior to Porter’s Victoria announcement, the Toronto-based carrier also announced new routes to Winnipeg and St. John’s. Winnipeg is centrally located in Canada in the province of Manitoba. In a June 20, 2023 press release, Porter unveiled a twice-daily service connecting Winnipeg with Toronto Pearson. The route is scheduled to start on Sept. 7, 2023.

St. John’s is located in the easternmost Canadian province of Newfound and Labrador. While Victoria and Winnipeg are new destinations for Porter, the carrier already operates service to St. John’s from Halifax Stanfield International Airport in the nearby Atlantic province of Nova Scotia. Porter’s new route was announced on June 22, 2023, and will be offered once daily with a start date of September 6, 2023. The new route will also introduce the Embraer E195-E2 jet to St. John’s International Airport, as Porter’s existing flights to the airport are operated by its De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q400 turboprop fleet.

Growing Porter’s Toronto Pearson Operations

For the first decade and a half of its history, Porter exclusively operated a fleet of Dash 8 Q400 turboprops serving a network based out of Toronto Billy Bishop City Airport in downtown Toronto. Porter built a name for itself in Eastern Canada over the years, offering a convenient travel experience and a premium brand of service with complimentary beer, wine and snacks on board. However, the airline was limited in its expansion options due to the range of the Dash 8 Q400 as well as Billy Bishop Airport’s size and prohibition on jet aircraft.

In 2021, Porter placed an order for 30 Embraer E195-E2 jets. This marked a major change for the airline, as it meant an entry into its hometown’s larger airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport. In early 2023, Porter began its E195-E2 operations from Toronto Pearson. The airline now serves six destinations across the country and has 11 E195-E2s with another 39 jets on order.

The ongoing expansion in Toronto Pearson marks an ambitious growth plan for Porter. While competition at Billy Bishop Airport was limited to a few regional Air Canada flights, Porter is now going head-to-head with Canadian giants Air Canada and WestJet at Toronto Pearson. As the airline continues executing its plan to add routes from Toronto Pearson to other Canadian destinations and airports in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, it will face additional competition from foreign carriers and smaller Canadian airlines.

Porter Airlines E195-E2 cabin (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Andrew Chen)

Porter’s expansion is no doubt a positive change for Canadian consumers. With the domestic air travel market long dominated by Air Canada and WestJet, the growth of Porter and other Canadian carriers like Flair Airlines is creating a more competitive landscape in the country. With the introduction of its E195-E2 jets, Porter also introduced a revamped economy class product, and its onboard passenger experience has proven to be very competitive.

Where Porter is less competitive is its network at Toronto Pearson. Air Canada, and to a lesser extent WestJet, carry a significant amount of connecting traffic to and from the airport. Porter is starting to build its connecting network at the airport and the airline noted that its new routes will offer connecting options to other Canadian destinations. Until it can further develop its network through new routes and partnerships though, Porter will continue to face an uphill battle at Toronto Pearson.

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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