This is Ron Jenkin’s article. Sorry for the confusion. Editor
David Herbert’s piece on Porter Airlines, “The world’s best airline hits turbulence” (May 5 2016, offers an unbalanced view of Porter, and one that seems to be getting its information selectively.
While it’s true that many Porter Airlines passengers like its convenience and service, for others those things come at a cost that David Herbet does not recognize. However, literally thousands of accounts of dissatisfaction have been collected by this blogger:
Herbert also states, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blocked airport expansion plans that would let Porter compete with legacy carriers.” A more accurate statement would be “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau has refused Porter Airlines’ request to permit changes to an airport agreement that would allow the airport to extend its runways and that would remove a ban on jet aircraft for scheduled passenger service.” The agreement does not in any way prevent Porter from competing with legacy carriers now or in the future, which they are free to do. If Porter wishes that competition to be in jet aircraft, they are free to buy jets and compete on precisely equal terms with any other Canadian carrier. It’s just that those jet aircraft will continue to be banned at the Toronto Island Airport.
The fact is that Porter Airlines wants to extend its non-competitive Commercial Carrier Operator Agreement at the Island Airport. That arrangement guarantees it has 85% of existing carrier slots, and 85% of future slots should they come available, as well as conferring other unique benefits.
Herbert’s article also states, “The proposal would have also boosted the struggling Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier, which signed a preliminary contract with Porter for a dozen CSeries 100 jets and options for another 18, in a deal valued at more than CAD$2 billion.” This description of the contract with Bombardier is one promelgated by expansion proponents. The arrangement was an order for 12 CS100s conditional on terms Porter Airlines refuses to divulge, beyond that approvals for runway extensions and a removal of the jet ban would need to be issued. The remaining 18 jets mentioned were options to buy, as the article notes. However, the footprint of the airport in question would not permit that expansion to happen there if Porter were in fact to buy the full 30 jets.
Instead, looking at the 12 jets as potential business for Bombardier, recall that Delta and Air Canada have recently purchased CSeries jets at approximately $25 million for a CS100 and $30 million for a CS300. Using that pricing, Porter’s business represents no more than $400 million. But it is business that Porter could give immediately to Bombardier, if they were prepared to operate those aircraft on terms competitive with any other airline.
— Ron Jenkins