Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport’s New Terminal For Porter

Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport’s New Terminal For Porter

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Porter Airlines is currently undergoing a major expansion. While the airline has historically operated De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), the airline has ordered up to 100 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, which will be used to expand across Canada.

One of the challenges with trying to grow is that it can be tough to secure gate space at major international airports, all while creating a pleasant passenger experience. Porter has done a great job with that at its Billy Bishop Airport hub, but is struggling to do that at other airports. Along those lines, the airline has announced a unique and ambitious plan to grow in Montreal.

Porter expanding to a second Montreal Airport

Porter Airlines has announced that it’s developing a modern passenger terminal at Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport (YHU). Construction on the new terminal is expected to start in mid-2023, and it should be operational by late 2024. The new terminal will be capable of serving over four million passengers annually.

The new terminal is expected to be 21,000 square meters (225,000 square feet), and will feature nine jet bridges. The terminal is expected to boast lounge-style seating for all passengers, as well as food and beverage concessions and retail vendors.

Porter already flies to Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL), and plans to continue increasing its presence there, while also building a Canada-wide network at Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport. The airline has identified more than 10 potential routes, spanning from Vancouver in the west to St. John’s in the east. Porter also plans to fly from the airport to both of its hubs in Toronto, and will fly both of its aircraft type to the airport.

Porter explains that the new terminal is modeled after the revitalization of Billy Bishop Airport, which Porter has been part of for 17 years.

The new terminal will also be open to other airlines, including Pascan Aviation, which is the only airline currently serving the airport. Pascan Aviation operates regional flights across Quebec from the airport. There are also plans for Pascan Aviation and Porter Airlines to codeshare, creating more connectivity throughout Quebec.

Rendering of the new terminal at Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport

Will Porter succeed with a new airport in Montreal?

Porter is certainly thinking outside the box with its plans to expand in Montreal.

On the one hand, I imagine Porter’s costs for using the airport will be pretty good, since that’s usually the cost at smaller airports, especially with incentives. Furthermore, it’s nice that Porter can offer a great passenger experience here, in terms of the terminal seating, as well as the ease of using the airport, given its small size.

On the other hand, in this announcement Porter keeps comparing Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The major difference is that Billy Bishop Airport is actually very convenient if traveling to & from Toronto, while Saint-Hubert Airport isn’t closer to Montreal than the existing airport.

Admittedly you have a lot of people living around cities, and Porter also points out that the new airport has “a convenient location for a significant portion of the local market.” Will that be enough to make this concept succeed? I’m not particularly familiar with Montreal, though I’m sure some OMAAT readers will have some insights.

The other challenge is that when you’re trying to compete with a major airline like Air Canada, it’s important to have a huge network and lots of frequencies out of a given airport. By splitting operations between two airports, Porter is limiting its ability to scale its network in terms of connection opportunities, easy rebooking, etc.

I’m curious to see if Porter succeeds with its Montreal plans

Bottom line

Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport will be getting a new passenger terminal, capable of handling over four million passengers per year. This is being done in partnership with Porter, which sees this as a great strategy for growing in Montreal, given the lack of room for growth at Montreal Trudeau Airport.

What do you make of Porter’s plans to expand to a second airport in Montreal?

Conversations (21)
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  1. Wayne Guest

    With a population of +/- 750,000 and growing Montreal’s South Shore can likely sustain such a facility by itself, with a better, faster, experience than YUL. Make sure there’s plenty of affordable long term parking because the area is famously underserved by public transit. The partnership with Pascan (codesharing) is also a pretty clever way to reach deeper into the regional Quebec market. It’s also an area with several large potential business clients: Molson HQ,...

    With a population of +/- 750,000 and growing Montreal’s South Shore can likely sustain such a facility by itself, with a better, faster, experience than YUL. Make sure there’s plenty of affordable long term parking because the area is famously underserved by public transit. The partnership with Pascan (codesharing) is also a pretty clever way to reach deeper into the regional Quebec market. It’s also an area with several large potential business clients: Molson HQ, Canadian Space Agency, Alstom… and many more. I can definitely see a business case, and will definitely give it a try once operational.

  2. Bill Guest

    There's a train station right next to the airport that's ~20min away from Gare Centrale. If they can run a shuttle bus and increase train frequency (especially in off-peak times and directions), then I see no reason how this would be a worse option than YUL, even after the REM opens. Maybe even better.

  3. MetsNomad Guest

    I would LOVE for Porter to fly to LGA from St-Hubert, as most of the people I visit in the area live on the south shore. One can dream...

  4. Gregsdc New Member

    For folks in the central part of the city, I'm not sure fighting south shore bridge traffic is somehow going to be better than westbound Autoroute 20. However: (a) a 2nd airport option adds location diversity, and by definition puts an airport a whole lot closer to a whole bunch of people; and (b) anytime you can fly in or out of a major city without dealing with a large, congested airport, that's a win....

    For folks in the central part of the city, I'm not sure fighting south shore bridge traffic is somehow going to be better than westbound Autoroute 20. However: (a) a 2nd airport option adds location diversity, and by definition puts an airport a whole lot closer to a whole bunch of people; and (b) anytime you can fly in or out of a major city without dealing with a large, congested airport, that's a win. So all in all, I don't think there's much downside for the traveling public! Plus, Porter still offers a great flying experience.

  5. Manjeet Guest

    Anything that gives a competition to the shitty AC. Did you know it costs more to fly from Montreal to Vancouver than to fly overseas on a comparable distance.

  6. Leslie Guest

    IMO, this move is mainly for traffic originating in Montreal and Quebec. Saint-Hubert airport is much more convenient for a catchment area of about 2M people stretching from the South Shore eastwards and northwards. The southern suburbs of Montreal are also generally wealthier than the northern suburbs. Flying out of YUL can be a headache, especially during rush hour as the traffic is backed up to the highways. I don't think any visitors should consider...

    IMO, this move is mainly for traffic originating in Montreal and Quebec. Saint-Hubert airport is much more convenient for a catchment area of about 2M people stretching from the South Shore eastwards and northwards. The southern suburbs of Montreal are also generally wealthier than the northern suburbs. Flying out of YUL can be a headache, especially during rush hour as the traffic is backed up to the highways. I don't think any visitors should consider YHU over YUL. YUL has public transit infrastructure, car rentals, and most business sites are closer.

  7. EC Guest

    It's not a terrible strategy, in my view. The airport adds the complexity of getting across the river for anyone on the island (i.e., where the city is) however there is a substantial population in the suburban areas of Longueuil and the South Shore that are quite underserved by the current airport's location. YUL requires that they go the long way around or brave driving onto the island to then get onto the same congested...

    It's not a terrible strategy, in my view. The airport adds the complexity of getting across the river for anyone on the island (i.e., where the city is) however there is a substantial population in the suburban areas of Longueuil and the South Shore that are quite underserved by the current airport's location. YUL requires that they go the long way around or brave driving onto the island to then get onto the same congested highways as everyone else. Plus, anyone further to the east will benefit from having this as an option so they don't have to slog across the city.

    However, it's not well located for Laval, which is the largest (and richest) suburban area outside of Montreal.

    1. KC Guest

      And don't forget that this is very convenient for people who live in the Sherbrooke area.

  8. Chris W Guest

    St Hubert airport is the same distance from Montreal as Trudeau.

    1. Cedric Guest

      I find the "same distance" comments very funny. There is way less traffic to get to YHU than YUL from downtown. Also, for the growing south shore populaton its way more convenient.

      Trick is the REM will make getting to YUL much easier, but thats some years away yet (2026/2027).

  9. John Guest

    Only slightly off topic: I get that artistic renderings are meant to show the project in the most flattering light. But jeez, how they've (over)done the idyllic greenery is just....overboard in James Cameron proportions. It's never going to look remotely like that bucolic fantasy. If the architect can fluff peripheral stuff like that..who's to say they have integrity with the core stuff. You think I'm being overwrought here? I have only one thing to say:...

    Only slightly off topic: I get that artistic renderings are meant to show the project in the most flattering light. But jeez, how they've (over)done the idyllic greenery is just....overboard in James Cameron proportions. It's never going to look remotely like that bucolic fantasy. If the architect can fluff peripheral stuff like that..who's to say they have integrity with the core stuff. You think I'm being overwrought here? I have only one thing to say: Berlin Airport.

  10. Alain Guest

    This strategic move is very smart! I live in old Montreal/Downtown and the distance to this airport from home is only 2km more than Trudeau (YUL) for me! I'm sure local governments will pitch in with a direct non stop bus or some type of better public transportation. Even if the did not, the uber ride would cost me the same and the ground experience would be far more pleasant I imagine.

    1. Vancouver - Char Gold

      yes - the ground experience of Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL) is not the best and good point with the local government supporting *(or should support) this new terminal

  11. eponymous coward Guest

    At least it’s not YMX…

  12. Mr. MR Guest

    Remember you won't be allowed to use this airport unless you speak French, however.

    1. Fed UP Guest

      heureusement on ne vous y verra pas !!

    2. Mr. MR Guest

      For sure! Quebec is a ghetto, primarily due to its protectionist economic and language policies. You can have it.

    3. Wayne Guest

      I live 14 km away from the planned terminal, travel quite a bit. And everybody I know here in suburban Brossard is fully bilingual, Porter is headquartered in Toronto. Have no fear it’s not the 80’s anymore. You could spend weeks here without having to speak French, except for the occasional “Bonjour” or “Merci” that are always appreciated. ;-)

  13. monsieurlee Member

    Not having to deal with the nightmare of that is Island of Montreal traffic to an airport that is always a shitshow would be a HUGE plus, especially for anyone that lives on the south / east side of the river. They need to add bus service to Longueuil metro, though.

  14. Ann Guest

    All the best to them
    Anything that takes market share away from the trash that is AC is a good thing.

  15. Steve Diamond

    Saint-Hubert Airport is the same distance from YUL. Are you thinking of the third airport Montréal-Mirabel which is the far one.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alain Guest

This strategic move is very smart! I live in old Montreal/Downtown and the distance to this airport from home is only 2km more than Trudeau (YUL) for me! I'm sure local governments will pitch in with a direct non stop bus or some type of better public transportation. Even if the did not, the uber ride would cost me the same and the ground experience would be far more pleasant I imagine.

3
Fed UP Guest

heureusement on ne vous y verra pas !!

2
EC Guest

It's not a terrible strategy, in my view. The airport adds the complexity of getting across the river for anyone on the island (i.e., where the city is) however there is a substantial population in the suburban areas of Longueuil and the South Shore that are quite underserved by the current airport's location. YUL requires that they go the long way around or brave driving onto the island to then get onto the same congested highways as everyone else. Plus, anyone further to the east will benefit from having this as an option so they don't have to slog across the city. However, it's not well located for Laval, which is the largest (and richest) suburban area outside of Montreal.

2
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