Porter Airlines Orders Up To 80 Embraer E195-E2s, Expands To Toronto Pearson Airport

Porter Airlines Orders Up To 80 Embraer E195-E2s, Expands To Toronto Pearson Airport

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Porter is a popular airline in Canada — it’s based at Toronto Billy Bishop Airport, and operates De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops to both domestic and transborder destinations. The airline is known for its great passenger experience, and primarily targets business travelers.

While the airline has been grounded for over a year, some major changes will soon be coming to Porter’s fleet and business model. This was first rumored back in May, but has now been confirmed.

Porter orders up to 80 Embraer E195-E2s

Porter Airlines has placed an order for up to 80 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft — this includes 30 firm orders and 50 options, with deliveries expected to begin in the second half of 2022. At list prices, this deal is worth up to $5.82 billion USD.

The order has technically been placed by Porter Aircraft Leasing Corp, a sister company of Porter Airlines. The order also includes the ability to convert purchase rights into smaller E190-E2 aircraft, to provide opportunities to fly nonstop in markets where there previously wasn’t sufficient demand. If the airline takes delivery of up to 80 Embraer jets, this could create as many as 6,000 new jobs.

For those of you not familiar with the Embraer E195-E2, this is the latest generation jet of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s lineup. The E195-E2 is the largest, longest range, and most fuel efficient Embraer E-jet. The plane can seat 120-146 people (depending on the configuration), and can fly up to 2,600 nautical miles.

As Porter Airlines CEO Michael Deluce describes this order:

“We are bringing Porter’s distinct style of service to dozens of new North American cities. We believe that now is the right time to make this investment as the pandemic resets the aviation landscape. Adding a diverse selection of popular business and leisure destinations to our network means that we are better positioned to serve the needs of many more passengers.”

Rendering of Porter Embraer E195-E2

Porter will expand to Toronto Pearson Airport

If you’ve flown Porter before, you may be thinking “Billy Bishop Airport is convenient, and soon I can fly Porter out of there on a nicer plane!” Not so fast, unfortunately, as the government doesn’t allow jets to operate out of Toronto’s city airport.

Instead Porter Airlines will be expanding to Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is much larger and (for some) less convenient. From Pearson Airport, the E195-E2 is capable of flying everywhere from Los Angeles, to Vancouver, to Miami, to St. John’s.

Potential Porter Airlines destinations with the Embraer E195-E2

While more competition out of Toronto Pearson is good for consumers, this still seems extremely risky:

  • Porter is known for offering a great passenger experience, though ultimately the biggest selling point of the airline is the convenient service it operates out of Billy Bishop Airport
  • Porter will be at a significant disadvantage compared to Air Canada at Pearson Airport in terms of route network, frequency, etc.
  • Even if Porter configures E195-E2s comfortably, the airline can’t compete with the wide bodies that Air Canada schedules on transcon flights
Porter Embraer E195-E2 cabin rendering
Porter Embraer E195-E2 cabin rendering

Porter won’t exclusively be flying these new planes out of Toronto, though. The airline also has plans to operate routes out of Halifax, Montreal, and Ottawa, to other markets in Canada. Exact routes will be announced in 2022.

Porter’s planned Embraer E195-E2 bases

This isn’t totally out of left field

On the surface this might seem like a wild direction for Porter to take, especially during a pandemic when the airline has been grounded for over a year. However, Porter has been thinking about acquiring jets for years.

Back in 2013, Porter had placed an order for 30 Bombardier CS100 aircraft (now known as the Airbus A220-100). The order had been conditional on the government changing rules to allow jets at Billy Bishop Airport, but that never ended up happening.

In 2013 Porter Airlines conditionally ordered the CS100

Clearly Porter still sees value in flying jets, even if the model is different than hoped for back in 2013.

Why would Porter order the E195-E2 over the A220-100, though? That probably comes down to the airline being able to secure E195-E2 delivery slots as early as next year, while more lead time would be needed for the A220-100. I imagine the airline also got a great deal, given the state of the airline industry.

Bottom line

Porter Airlines has placed an order for up to 80 Embraer E195-E2 jets. The boutique Toronto-based airline will use these planes to not only launch operations out of Toronto Pearson Airport, but also out of Halifax, Montreal, and Ottawa.

This is great news for Canadian consumers, and bad news for Air Canada. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this unfolds. This all gets even more interesting when you consider that Connect Airlines is a new carrier that essentially intends to replicate Porter’s existing business model at Billy Bishop Airport.

What do you make of Porter Airlines ordering Embraer E195-E2s, and planning significant expansion?

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  1. Jay Davis

    If Porter Airlines thinks ATL is where it is located on their map, they may need to re-think their navigational equipment. ATL is a LOT closer to the Atlantic Ocean versus what this map shows.

  2. Emcampbe

    My opinion: Porter is going to get killed when they move to YYZ. Air Canada and Westjet are going to have no mercy (not to mention, Canada has a history of failing upstart airlines).

    While the expansion is supposedly going to happen beyond Toronto, let's not be naive - it's their base and where most of any fortunes are going to come from. And honestly, the appeal of Porter for many was the ability to...

    My opinion: Porter is going to get killed when they move to YYZ. Air Canada and Westjet are going to have no mercy (not to mention, Canada has a history of failing upstart airlines).

    While the expansion is supposedly going to happen beyond Toronto, let's not be naive - it's their base and where most of any fortunes are going to come from. And honestly, the appeal of Porter for many was the ability to get to the airport quickly - just hop on the ferry to YTZ and relax in the lounge for a bit prior to the flight. They are going to have neither in their move to Pearson (I mean, at least I assume the lounge access isn't going to be given out to everyone anymore with this kind of expansion). Also, without managing the airport like they did at YTZ, they aren't going to have the opportunity to limit how much AC or Westjet can fly.

    I've used Porter exactly twice, and while the flights themselves were good, the rest of the experience left much to be desired - and definitely wouldn't get me back without a lot of other factors in their favor for me choosing them. The key is the flights go straight to YTZ downtown. Without that, they are going to lose.

    I'm not in Canada anymore, but if it were me, out of YYZ, unless there's a huge fare difference, I'm going to book YVR, SFO or LAX on AC. I don't think I''m alone in that.

  3. DenB

    People who fly on paid economy tickets love Porter, because they suffer slightly less abuse than when they use Westjet or Air Canada. Most Torontonians are Porter fanboys. I don't count myself among them, because the "lounge" in YTZ isn't a lounge, the Q400s are unendurably noisy, the ground staff in EWR (where they don't provide a lounge at all) are downright hostile. I would reconsider all of this if they joined an alliance and...

    People who fly on paid economy tickets love Porter, because they suffer slightly less abuse than when they use Westjet or Air Canada. Most Torontonians are Porter fanboys. I don't count myself among them, because the "lounge" in YTZ isn't a lounge, the Q400s are unendurably noisy, the ground staff in EWR (where they don't provide a lounge at all) are downright hostile. I would reconsider all of this if they joined an alliance and installed a Premium cabin, so I can travel on changeable, cancellable award tickets, using points from a partner's real, meaningful loyalty program. As long as Porter runs as an unallied boutique airline, I'll steer clear. This aircraft order gives me hope they might actually join the big people.

    1. YULtide

      As my legacy handle suggests, I was based in Montreal and flew Porter YUL-YTZ a number of times, though only once in the last decade when I was in YEG. No Toronto fan boy, I liked Porter a lot at the time. In no particular order:

      1) When the service started the lounge was quite nice. I recall once memorable flight that started with a whisky tasting. The lounge got downgraded when Porter had to...

      As my legacy handle suggests, I was based in Montreal and flew Porter YUL-YTZ a number of times, though only once in the last decade when I was in YEG. No Toronto fan boy, I liked Porter a lot at the time. In no particular order:

      1) When the service started the lounge was quite nice. I recall once memorable flight that started with a whisky tasting. The lounge got downgraded when Porter had to start sharing it with Air Canada. Still, it's better than the average gate area.

      2) They serve a decent snack and a beer or glass of wine. Anything beats those tired AC pretzels and a soft drink.

      3) FAs tended to be warm and pleasant. What's not to love?

      4) 2-2 seating is better than 3-3.

      5) There was attention to little details, such as, if you gate checked a bag you would find it with the handle extended oriented to be ready to grab and roll when you arrived.

      6) YTZ was way more convenient than YYZ.

      The comparator is Y and not J. AC J blows Porter out of the water. Porter gives AC Y a good run for the money. Now based in Toronto (and AC SE), I'm looking forward to trying Porter again.

  4. Canadian Platinum

    Hope that this announcement extends Porter’s network to the west coast of Canada to service Vancouver and Victoria.
    We need another full service airline to compete against Air Canada and Westjet. The last thing AC and WS do is compete on price! AC and WS are on a race to the bottom along with Swoop and Flair.
    2x2 seating is a huge plus and Porter’s service quality should be a hit for those...

    Hope that this announcement extends Porter’s network to the west coast of Canada to service Vancouver and Victoria.
    We need another full service airline to compete against Air Canada and Westjet. The last thing AC and WS do is compete on price! AC and WS are on a race to the bottom along with Swoop and Flair.
    2x2 seating is a huge plus and Porter’s service quality should be a hit for those here on the west coast. I would happily switch my loyalty on domestic and trans border flights to Porter.

  5. YULtide

    @Ben

    There's a typo in your map graphic. "Hallifax" (sic) should only have one L.

  6. Bob

    All the best to them! Hopefully some partnerships beyond JetBlue in their future.

    Air Canada is utter garbage, any alternative is welcomed up here.

  7. JTF

    Since the Union-Pearson Express train became operational, Pearson airport is not far off in convenience to Billy Bishop. Shorter walk than through BB's tunnel (which gets you to a wait for a taxi) to board the train, 25 minutes to Union Station or back for a little over $ 12.00 (half-price for seniors), which is about the same cost as a taxi to Union Station from BB. Add the ability to sell seats to passengers...

    Since the Union-Pearson Express train became operational, Pearson airport is not far off in convenience to Billy Bishop. Shorter walk than through BB's tunnel (which gets you to a wait for a taxi) to board the train, 25 minutes to Union Station or back for a little over $ 12.00 (half-price for seniors), which is about the same cost as a taxi to Union Station from BB. Add the ability to sell seats to passengers connecting to or from long hauls on non-AC carriers, and Porter's prospects for a Pearson hub strike me as good!

  8. Indopithecus

    Best of luck to Porter. If nothing else it may force Air Canada to improve its current putrid service model if only to retain custom.

  9. Alpha Golf

    I wonder if they maybe bought the Embraer in part to spite the Canadian government for not approving the YTZ jet service.

  10. André

    think Porter didn't buy the E2-195 because they had the quickest delivery, but that the E2(s) compete on equal terms with the A220-100 and in some cases they even gain in value generated economically !!!

  11. James Barry

    I'm not sure I agree that Air Canada schedules "wide-bodies on transcon flights".

    I checked a random day in December:

    YYZ-LAS is a Rouge A321
    YYZ-PHX is 2X with an A321
    YYZ-LAX & YYZ-SFO are a mix --- 787s and 737 Max

    Porter in a 2-2 config vs Air Canada in a 3-3? No comparison.

    I suspect a credit card alliance would be a big help, but I don't know if that's possible given Air Canada's agreements with AmEx and VISA.

  12. Radio

    A couple of thoughts come to mind.

    You wrote, "Even if Porter configures E195-E2s comfortably, the airline can’t compete with the wide bodies that Air Canada schedules on transcon flights." My question is: How do you know that for certain? The word "can't" is pretty absolute. Airlines "compete" in many different ways. You may end up being right, but Porter apparently thinks it can compete. I would suggest no one knows at this point....

    A couple of thoughts come to mind.

    You wrote, "Even if Porter configures E195-E2s comfortably, the airline can’t compete with the wide bodies that Air Canada schedules on transcon flights." My question is: How do you know that for certain? The word "can't" is pretty absolute. Airlines "compete" in many different ways. You may end up being right, but Porter apparently thinks it can compete. I would suggest no one knows at this point.

    Another thought is economic. From what I understand, the E-195's list price is about 2/3rds of the A220's. Put differently, an airline can acquire almost 3 E-195s for the same cost as 2 A220s. That's a big difference. And, as can be seen on the map, the added range of the A220 isn't necessarily useful.

    Next is about the future of the Q400 at Porter. There are alternatives. One is the ATR series aircraft, and the other is the new turboprop under development by - Embraer. Maybe this order is part of a larger deal? Stay tuned.

    Last but not least. there is the possibility, however remote, that there could be a potential, here it comes - merger - between Porter and Air Transat. I realize potential mergers get talked to death on airline blogs, but it may make sense in this case. A combination of the two airlines could be a way for both to more effectively compete with Westjet and Air Canada. And it also addresses your point about competing with Air Canada's widebodies.

  13. JB

    Didn't Porter already fly to Orlando? Why are they listing it as a future destination color in the map shown above? The Northeastern U.S. routes are listed as current destinations. Has Porter cut that route for whenever they restart operations?

  14. shoeguy

    I love Porter and have enjoyed my experiences flying them between EWR and Toronto. Does Canada though really need 3 big airlines? This is not a judgment. It's an ask.

  15. Anthony

    Will they still fly the propeller planes out of Billy Bishop? I have flown them from Toronto to Montreal and enjoyed the experience

  16. DenB

    This reintroduces the remote hope (pipedream?) that a Canadian carrier other than AC might someday be in an alliance. When Porter attempted to expand to jets downtown, they briefly published the seatmaps of the planes they were proposing. Domestic First cabins in all. Offering a J experience removes one of the obstacles to full participation in OneWorld (yay) or SkyTeam (meh). Fingers crossed for Michael Deluce's big play.

  17. ravi KAR

    I have flown Porter for almost 2 years in the past. Great service and very competitive pricing. More competition out of YYZ is good news

Featured Comments Load all 19 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.

Jay Davis

If Porter Airlines thinks ATL is where it is located on their map, they may need to re-think their navigational equipment. ATL is a LOT closer to the Atlantic Ocean versus what this map shows.

Emcampbe

My opinion: Porter is going to get killed when they move to YYZ. Air Canada and Westjet are going to have no mercy (not to mention, Canada has a history of failing upstart airlines). While the expansion is supposedly going to happen beyond Toronto, let's not be naive - it's their base and where most of any fortunes are going to come from. And honestly, the appeal of Porter for many was the ability to get to the airport quickly - just hop on the ferry to YTZ and relax in the lounge for a bit prior to the flight. They are going to have neither in their move to Pearson (I mean, at least I assume the lounge access isn't going to be given out to everyone anymore with this kind of expansion). Also, without managing the airport like they did at YTZ, they aren't going to have the opportunity to limit how much AC or Westjet can fly. I've used Porter exactly twice, and while the flights themselves were good, the rest of the experience left much to be desired - and definitely wouldn't get me back without a lot of other factors in their favor for me choosing them. The key is the flights go straight to YTZ downtown. Without that, they are going to lose. I'm not in Canada anymore, but if it were me, out of YYZ, unless there's a huge fare difference, I'm going to book YVR, SFO or LAX on AC. I don't think I''m alone in that.

DenB

The "comparator" is Aeroplan.

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