Air Canada Jazz has signed an MOU with Bombardier that outlines the terms of a firm order for 15 Q400 turboprops, sending a clear signal to rival Porter Airlines of its intention to compete directly on routes from Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport with virtually identical airplanes.
Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines has settled quite comfortably into the niche it began carving for itself two years ago, when CEO Robert Deluce finally realized his dream of reopening Toronto City Centre Airport to scheduled airline traffic. Today, Deluce oversees a fleet of eight Bombardier Q400 turboprops flying to seven destinations within a 500-nm radius of the island airport.
Would-be Toronto City Center Airport tenant Regional Airlines Holding Co. (REGCO) has filed a C$500 million ($385 million) lawsuit against the city after it reversed an earlier decision to allow construction of a bridge across Toronto Harbor to the island airport. Chief executive Robert Deluce’s proposal for the new airline, slated for launch this fall with new Bombardier Q400 turboprops, hinged on a fixed road link to the airport.
It took some deft political maneuvering, arm-twisting, wheeling, dealing and more than anything a lot of waiting, but Porter Airlines finally got airborne on October 23 from Toronto’s controversial island airport amid fierce opposition from environmentalists and Air Canada Jazz.
Air Canada Jazz reacted in decisive fashion to Porter Airlines’ plans to launch regional service from Toronto Island Airport this fall by announcing its own intention to fly from the controversial lakefront airfield starting August 28, despite calls from activists for a boycott of both the flag carrier and the airport.
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