Air Canada launched the first direct competition against Bombardier Q400 operator Porter Airlines out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on May 1, when the flag carrier’s new regional subsidiary, Sky Regional Airlines, began service between the downtown Toronto airfield and Montreal. Flying under the new Air Canada Express brand, Sky Regional operates hourly Q400 service up to 15 times daily, between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. from Toronto and between 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 p.m. from Montreal. Sky Regional’s fleet consists of five Q400s leased from Air Canada subsidiary Jazz Air. Emulating Porter’s service, Air Canada offers free lounge access with Wi-Fi and refreshments, as well as regular shuttle service from a nearby hotel.
The first Air Canada Express flight marks the start of brand transition for all of Air Canada’s regional affiliates. Air Canada Jazz, for one, plans to adopt the same Air Canada Express livery over a five-year period, starting with the introduction of its own new fleet of Q400s on June 1. Other regional carriers, including Central Mountain Air, Air Georgian and EVAS, plan to adopt the new livery over their regular aircraft paint schedule.