After several false starts, Canada’s Porter Airlines is now targeting a September flight resumption date. Porter Airlines suspended its flights in March 2020. Since then, 11 tentative restart dates have come and gone at Porter Airlines. Will 12 prove to be the lucky number?
Porter Airlines says a September 8 restart date is looking good
“This is the moment our team members, passengers, and the communities we serve have been waiting for,” Michael Deluce, Porter Airlines president and CEO, said in a statement on Monday.
Slated to resume on September 8 are flights between Porter Airlines’ Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ) base in Toronto and Ottawa (YOW), Montreal (YUL), and Thunder Bay (YQT). Using its distinctive fleet of Dash 8-400s, Porter Airlines will fly up to three daily return services to YQT and six daily return services to both YOW and YUL.
On September 13, Porter Airlines will resume services on another three routes. Two return flights a day will fly between Ottawa and Halifax (YHZ). A single daily return flight will operate between Montreal and Halifax, and Quebec City (YQB) and Toronto.
On September 17, two more former Porter Airlines routes in Canada will restart. There will be a daily flight between Halifax and St John’s (YYT) and Ottawa and Moncton (YQM).
“Being grounded for more than a year has been incredibly difficult for everyone involved,” says Deluce. “Announcing a restart of flights is the first step in a recovery process that includes recalling hundreds of team members and welcoming back passengers.”
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United States flights from September 17
Porter Airlines is also eyeing resuming cross-border flights to the United States in September. Flights between Toronto and New York Newark (EWR), Toronto and Boston (BOS), Toronto and Chicago Midway (MDW), and Toronto and Washington Dulles (IAD) are set to resume on September 17.
With so many false starts on their record, one might be unwilling to bet Porter Airlines flights will restart in September. But there are signs this time it might be different. The airline has just recalled 500 employees in anticipation of September flights. Michael Deluce and his board have also just locked in a deal with the Canadian Government for loans worth US$219.3 million.
Canada has also begun loosening travel restrictions. From Monday, fully vaccinated Canadians heading home from the United States could start bypassing the 14-day quarantine, and three-day hotel stay. A further unwinding of cross-border travel rules is expected later this month.
Will it be twelve times lucky for Porter Airlines?
July is proving a less frosty environment for Canada’s airlines than in mid-May, when Porter Airlines announced its 11th potential restart date of July 20. At the time, Mr Deluce was pinning his hopes on the vaccination rollout gathering steam across North America.
Passengers on Porter Airlines will notice some changes since March 2020. All Porter Airlines tickets purchased by July 20 for travel up to December 15, 2021, are fully refundable. Jilted passengers have flayed Canada’s airlines over their refund policies since the travel downturn began. Recently the Canadian Government stepped in to help resolve the issue.
In line with airlines everywhere, Porter Airlines will step up its inflight health and hygiene procedures. The airline’s suite of protective measures is being tagged “Health Flights.” Michael Deluce says this is more than a checklist of rules and procedures. He says the new procedures will ensure a safe experience for passengers and employees while staying true to Porter Airlines’ distinct brand and approach to service.