Canadian independent carrier Porter Airlines has decided to suspend its operations until June 2020 this morning. Flights will remain operational as per schedule until March 20th, but then staff will be put on immediate long term unpaid leave.
Who is Porter Airlines?
Porter Airlines is a bespoke small carrier that operates a fleet of 29 Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft out its hub at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This hub location is unique as its right in the heart of downtown, facilitated by their choice of smaller aircraft. They operate some pretty unique routes, allowing passengers to go from downtown to downtown without passing through complicated big international airports.
Additionally, the airline has great service onboard with every passenger getting Starbucks coffee and a snack even on shorter flights.
However, you may have to wait sometime to fly onboard this writer’s favorite airline.
What has happened?
Because of the growing pandemic that is sweeping the world, leading to a lack of demand for air travel as well as government travel restrictions, Porter Airlines has decided to ground its fleet by the end of the Friday.
“COVID-19 is having an unprecedented effect on people around the world and Porter is determined to do our part to support the efforts of the Canadian, U.S., and global authorities in their responses.” Michael Deluce, Porter’s president and CEO stated in a press release.
“Restricting activities by people in all communities is what’s required to keep our team members and passengers healthy, and ultimately to end this fast-spreading pandemic. A temporary suspension of all flights allows the public health crisis to diminish and then time to restart our operations.”
For those who are looking to travel, Porter will operate as normal until the end of March 20th (which by the time of publishing is tomorrow). For those who are booked beyond that date, there is a wavier in place for any cancelation or change of date fees.
Porter is optimistic that the world will be ready to fly again by June 1st and is taking bookings for this date.
What about the airline crew members?
As Porter is the main airline at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, there will be massive rolling on impacts for not only the airlines’ staff but the airport as well. The hub will remain open as Porter is readying to help with medical transport for the Canadian government, and the aerodrome is used for private travel.
But alas, the airline has admitted that during this pause in operations some staff will need to be let go.
“It is regrettable that this situation requires us to issue temporary layoffs across the business. We are doing everything possible to support our team during this period and intend to welcome back all of our team members as operations restart.”
The CEO and executive team will also be taking a pay cut (with the CEO taking none) during this time.
“Porter’s team is exceptional. Our resilient culture has seen the company through difficult times in the past and it will allow us to do so again. We intend to come back stronger than ever and ready to meet the needs of customers.”
We hope that Porter can make a great recovery when they are flying again, and not join a growing list of bankrupt airlines in 2020.
What do you think? Are you affected by these flight groundings? Let us know in the comments.