Porter to take flight in 2006
Regional carrier to serve Canadian and US destinations.
TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines Inc. formally launched today by logging its flight plan to become Canada's newest regional passenger carrier. The airline unveiled its name, logo and livery at a signing ceremony this morning before a group of media, employees, Canadian Auto Workers (CAW)
representatives, airline employees and other guests at the Bombardier Aerospace Downsview manufacturing facility.
Yesterday, the airline's parent company, REGCO Holdings Inc., announced it has placed a firm order with Bombardier Aerospace for ten (10) 70-seat Q400 turboprop aircraft. The total contract, which includes an option to purchase an additional 10 aircraft, is valued at more than $500 million (US). REGCO's wholly-owned subsidiary, Porter Airlines Inc. will take flight later this year from its operational base at the Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA).
The airline will offer consumers a convenient alternative to Pearson International Airport and serve short-haul Canadian and U.S. destinations within a 500-nm radius of the Greater Toronto Area. Destination cities and flight schedules will be announced at a later date. "This is a great day for Toronto's aviation industry and, more importantly, the flying public," said Robert Deluce, President and CEO of
REGCO Holdings Inc. "Porter looks forward to serving customers and contributing to the Toronto economy. Our presence at the TCCA improves the city's competitiveness by allowing passengers to have direct access to downtown, stimulating business and tourism throughout the city." "We are immensely proud that this new Toronto airline has chosen this Toronto-built, world-leading aircraft, the Bombardier Q400," said Steven Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Regional Aircraft. "This extraordinary regional aircraft has led a resurgence in turboprop travel around the world. It has everything – jet-like speed, quiet comfort, environmental friendliness, low fuel burn, and the lowest operating costs of any regional aircraft. There is
no other turboprop that can compete with the Q400 aircraft in this arena.
Porter's order is a vote of confidence in the performance and operating economics of the Q400." According to Roland Kiehne, President of CAW Local 112, "CAW workers are extremely proud to be building Porter's Q400 aircraft right here in Toronto, where the airline will be based. We take pride in every plane that leaves Downsview, but these will be particularly special." REGCO Holdings Inc. also announced that it has recently completed an equity financing of approximately $125 million CAD, the second-highest ever for a new airline. The airline's investors include EdgeStone Capital Partners,
Borealis Infrastructure who invests on behalf of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and REGCO Capital Corp., a company controlled by Robert Deluce.
Mr. Deluce was joined at the event by former AMR Corp Chairman and CEO Don Carty, who will serve as Chairman of REGCO Holdings Inc and Porter Airlines Inc. Carty has unparalleled airline experience on both sides of the border, serving as President and CEO of both American Airlines and CP Air (predecessor to Canadian Airlines). "We are tremendously fortunate to have Don Carty leading our Board of Directors," added Deluce. "His advice and experience will be invaluable as we develop our airline."
The airline and its related businesses will create 500 new direct and indirect jobs at the airport, including management, sales, marketing, engineering, maintenance, information technology, customer service, pilots and flight attendants. Downtown Toronto business, including cultural events, hotels and restaurants, will have additional economic benefits of up to $800 million annually. In addition, this announcement will support 150 existing jobs and 20 businesses at the TCCA, which already contribute $100 million annually to the downtown economy. REGCO has signed a long-term Commercial Carrier Operating Agreement
(CCOA) with the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), operators of the Toronto City Centre Airport. The airport, which has served downtown Toronto since 1939, is governed by a Tripartite Agreement between the City of Toronto, The Federal Government and the TPA. The Tripartite Agreement will remain in effect
until at least 2033.
The Q400 is a modern and environmentally-friendly aircraft, employing state-of-the-art equipment and technology. It is capable of steep approach and reduced engine RPM landings to minimize operating noise. It is also the most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class, burning less fuel per seat than most regional jets and narrow-bodied aircraft. The Q400 aircraft's revolutionary Noise and Vibration Suppression (NVS) system results in the quietest turboprop interior in the industry. It also features Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC)
Porter Airlines Inc. is a regional passenger carrier that will operate out of Toronto City Centre Airport. The airline will begin scheduled service later this year to short-haul Canadian and U.S. destinations within a 500-nm radius of the Greater Toronto Area. Porter is a subsidiary of privately-held REGCO Holdings Inc. Its investors include EdgeStone Capital Partners, Borealis Infrastructure and REGCO Capital Corp.