‘Time to spread our wings’: Porter Airlines unveils ambitious plan to buy Bombardier CSeries jets, fly farther

Just when Toronto thought it had made some peace with that pesky raccoon on Toronto Island — Mr. Porter, the eponymous mascot of Porter Airlines — the upstart carrier has announced plans to once again expand its roost at Billy Bishop Toronto City airport.

Porter Airlines said Wednesday it plans to purchase 12 of Bombardier Inc.’s new CSeries aircraft, and put another 18 of the planes on option, and to push the federal government, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority to alter their long-standing agreement to allow for the new jets to take off and land at Billy Bishop. It also wants the parties to allow for a 168-metre extension on each end of the airport’s main runway to accommodate take-off and landing requirements.

The airline said the $2.29-billion aircraft order is, however, conditional on winning approval from all three parties. If it fails to do so, Porter said it will abandon its plans to buy the planes.

If the plan is approved, the move would mark a significant shift in strategy for Porter, which until now relied on its fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops for short-haul flights typically shorter than two hours in duration.

The smaller version of the CSeries that Porter plans to purchase, the CS100, has a much farther reach and could open up destinations like Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Florida and the Caribbean when it’s delivered in 2016…

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