Unfortunately, regional Canadian carrier Porter Airlines has decided to postpone its flight-resumption plan yet again. The most recent resumption date for Porter was February 11th. However, with the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec shattering records for COVID-19 cases, the airline has decided to push back its re-launch date to March 29th. This means Porter will have been absent from operating scheduled commercial services for over a year by the time it takes to the skies again.
“With the introduction of vaccines, we are more optimistic about determining a date in the near-term to reintroduce flights than at any point since the pandemic began…More time is needed to assess the vaccine’s influence on current travel restrictions and when it is appropriate to begin operations again. We expect to establish a timeline for this to happen in the first part of 2021.” -Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines
The previous plan to resume on February 11th
Prior to this latest news, Porter Airlines had intended to resume operations on February 11th – an announcement that was actually made in mid-November. At the time, the airline’s president had stated in the press release:
“Every delay to restarting flights has the greatest effect on our team members, who are eager to do their part to help serve customers under safe conditions. Unfortunately, the continued and cumulative effects of restrictive travel advisories, border closures and quarantines have suffocated travel demand to the point that a return to sustainable levels of passenger traffic is highly unlikely in 2020.”
Indeed, while Canada’s larger carriers can remain operational by serving other parts of the country, Porter Airlines’ route map sits on top of the worst areas geographically when considering the COVID-19 situation in the region.
- Connecting Eastern Canadian cities to US cities through its Toronto hub has been strained by travel advisories and a 14-day self-isolation policy for arrivals to Canada.
- Connecting Montreal and Toronto with Eastern Canadian cities has been made difficult by the “Atlantic bubble” set up by provinces in the Maritimes.
- Even just connecting Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City is difficult with rising case counts and Quebec’s recent curfew imposition.
Below is a short promotional video showing Porter’s routes and destinations:
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The 9th postponement. Will there be a 10th?
As mentioned in previous articles, Porter temporarily suspended its operations on March 21st. With shifting situations and hope for an improving situation, the airline had planned the following resumption dates, only to push them back again and again:
- June 1st
- June 29th
- July 29th
- August 31st
- October 7th
- November 12th
- December 15th
- February 11th
- And now March 29th
One key difference in the airline’s new resumption date is that there has been much progress made on a vaccine. In fact, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently being distributed to communities across Canada. While not everyone will be vaccinated by late March, it may just be enough for Porter to operate a handful of services.
Of course, working against the airline would be subsequent outbreaks and the resulting restrictions. Vaccination delays may also see the airline revising its resumption date yet again.
Do you think March 29th will finally be Porter’s day to return to service? Or do you think it will have to change yet again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.