Porter Airlines seeks to land jets at base in Toronto, wants to extend runway

TORONTO – Porter Airlines announced plans Wednesday to seek permission to fly Bombardier’s CS100 jets out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the city’s waterfront to destinations across North America.

Jets are currently not allowed to fly out of the waterfront airport except under special circumstances under a tripartite agreement between the City of Toronto, federal government and Toronto Port Authority.

However, the airline said it will seek to have the rules changed so that it can fly the jets from the small airport to new destinations such as Vancouver, Los Angeles and Florida that its current fleet of turboprops can’t reach.

Porter said it will also seek permission to extend the main runway at the airport by 168 metres at each end.

Porter president and chief executive Robert Deluce said the airline chose the new Bombardier CSeries aircraft and its current fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops because of their quiet operation.

“We knew that operating from a downtown urban airport would require us to be responsible operators and good neighbours. We believe that our track record of nearly seven years has shown that Porter has delivered on the promises we made when we announced plans to operate from this airport,” Deluce said.

“We believe the CS100 is the perfect aircraft for the next stage of our growth for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is the quietest commercial jet in production.”

Porter confirmed Wednesday that it has signed a conditional deal to buy 12 Bombardier CS100s, with options on 18 more.

The deal also includes purchase rights for six of Bombardier’s Q400s..

The total purchase could reach US$2.29 billion if all the options and purchase rights are exercised.

Porter started flying in October 2006 and now serves 19 destinations in Canada and then United States.

The airline said the addition of the new jets could create 1,000 jobs on top of its roughly 1,400 employees it already has.

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