DALLAS, TEXASCanada's regional airline operator Porter Airlines is preparing to shake up the country's airline industry after announcing plans to launch jet service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean with an order for up to 80 E195-E2 jets.

The airline says it has signed a deal to become the North American launch customer for the Embraer E195-E2 jet aircraft and plans to offer flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport along with Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax.

Porter has placed a firm order for 30 planes and 50 purchase-right options and likely received a hefty discount from the list price. It also has the option to convert purchase rights to the E190-E2s.

The new aircraft will not operate from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport on the city’s waterfront where Porter currently offers service on turboprop aircraft.

Its entire fleet of 29 Q400 planes has been grounded for more than a year because of the pandemic and isn’t scheduled to resume flying until Sept. 8. Porter will restart operations in phases, with the initial flights between Canadian destinations. Flights to U.S. cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. will resume Sept. 17.

“Obviously the last 16 months have been a difficult time for the industry, but out of the crisis is often the best opportunity for establishing growth in the future,” CEO Michael Duluce said in an interview.

He said the pandemic laid the foundation for the substantial growth plan it will enact midway through 2022 as it enters the recovery phase from the pandemic.

A full list of destinations will be announced in due course, but Deluce sees opportunities to service the southern U.S. as well as the Caribbean and Mexico.

Airline analyst Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc., called it a “bold move” that will surely elicit a strong response from Canada’s two largest airlines especially as it prepares to land “in the jaws of the dragon at Pearson, which is Air Canada’s main base of operations and the second-largest base for WestJet Airlines.

“WestJet and Air Canada are not going to take this sitting down. They’re going to put a very robust response on the marketplace because everybody’s suffered through the pandemic,” he said in an interview.

That’s good news for passengers who have seen their options expand with the addition of Swoop, Flair, and the upcoming addition of Enerjet.

But Kokonis doesn’t believe Porter will try to become Sunwing, Transat, or Air Canada Rouge by appealing mainly to the leisure crowd. Instead, he expects it will continue to cater to business travelers who have taken advantage of the Toronto island airport’s quick access to the country’s largest city, in addition to leisure travelers.

Porter confirms cancelling ‘conditional order’ for 30 Airbus A220s

After announcing an order of 30 Embraer 195-E2 jets in addition to a route expansion, Canada’s Porter Airlines says it has canceled an earlier letter of intent to acquire a similar number of Airbus A220s.

“Porter no longer has a conditional order with Airbus,” the Toronto-based airline confirms on 12 July.

“The A220 and E2 are both great aircraft. We looked at all of the aircraft options available today and chose the E2 for a number of reasons, including the ability to meet our preferred delivery schedule starting next year,” Porter adds.

Since beginning operations in 2006, Porter has flown only De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s, of which it has 29, according to Cirium fleets data. It primarily operated those aircraft on regional Canadian routes from Toronto’s secondary airport, Billy Bishop. The airline operated to some US destinations, but only as far south as north Florida.