Porter Airlines Delays Flight Resumption Until Late July

Toronto-based Porter Airlines will not resume flying until July 20. After several delays, the airline most recently expected…

Porter Airlines Delays Flight Resumption Until Late July

Toronto-based Porter Airlines will not resume flying until July 20. After several delays, the airline most recently expected to resume flights on June 21. On Monday, citing continuing uncertainty presented by government travel restrictions, including border closures, Porter Airlines announced a new July restart date.

Porter Airlines now plans to resume flying on July 20. Photo: Porter Airlines

“We want to see our planes in the sky as soon as possible and are actively working to prepare for our resumption of services,” says Porter Airlines in a statement. “However, the ongoing uncertainty presented by government travel restrictions, including border closures, is impacting our ability to operate flights.”

” We are closely watching developments and know that Porter will be an important part of providing people with travel options as the economy recovers.”

The latest in a series of pushbacks for Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines parked its fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft in March 2020. Since then, numerous planned restarts have been shelved. When parking his planes, Porter Airlines CEO Michael Deluce expected to see his aircraft back in the air by mid-year. Like many airline executives, he expected the worldwide drop in passenger demand and travel restrictions to be a short-term hiccup.

But that’s not how it has turned out. This year alone, a March 29 restart date was pushed back to May 19. Mid-May soon segued to June 21. That June date is now dropped in favor of July 20.

 “It is necessary to reset our sights based on changing conditions,” said Porter Airlines CEO Michael Deluce when pushing back an earlier restart date.

Porter Airlines normally flies a fleet of Dash 8-400s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

Border closures and travel restrictions hinder Porter Airlines

Despite operating a fleet of just 29 Dash 8s, Porter Airlines made a name for itself with a relatively unusual operating model. Based at Toronto’s secondary but handy Billy Bishop Airport, Porter Airlines is a contemporary reworking of the old commuter airline model. A Dash 8-400 can fly around 1,100 nautical miles (2,040 kilometers). That allowed Porter Airlines to offer flights to various destinations across southeast Canada. Porter Airlines also normally flies into the northeast corner of the United States. Passengers could easily scoot into Toronto for a day’s work or appointments before heading home.

But Canada’s tough and ongoing border restrictions have upended easy movement between the United States and Canada. Canada’s domestic airline market, while beginning to recover, also nosedived in 2020. Current average daily commercial domestic flights across Canada are up on mid-May 2020 levels. However, current flight numbers are still less than half of mid-May 2019 levels.

Porter Airlines is based at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. Photo: Porter Airlines

Some industry insiders question the future of the Dash 8-400

While the Porter Airlines regional aircraft commuter model has fans and even imitators (United States-based Connect Airlines is eyeing the Porter Airlines model), it also has its detractors.

Across the Atlantic, Austrian Airlines has been busy removing Dash 8-400s from its fleet. That airline’s CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, argues operating regional aircraft is a lost cause. He thinks the travel downturn and decline in demand for new planes will see the demise of the Dash 8.

“Over the last decades, we have seen that flying regional aircraft is basically a business that is dying out,” Alexis von Hoensbroech recently told Routes Reconnected. “This is a trend you can’t work against because the ticket prices came down so much that the unit cost of small aircraft are just too big.”

That is a Dash 8 doomsday scenario that many others don’t share. It also does not account for the different market conditions in densely populated Europe and far less densely populated Canada. But with Porter’s North American competitors offering sleek Embraer E2 jets and brand new Airbus A220s on some of the routes (especially those into the United States) Porter Airlines normally flies on, the Porter Airlines operating model is not without its challenges.

But in the meantime, Porter Airlines simply need to get its planes back in the air.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Could Australia’s Next Airline Be Called ‘brad’?

It has been a while since Australia last saw a new airline started from scratch. OzJet rose and…

Could Australia’s Next Airline Be Called ‘brad’?

It has been a while since Australia last saw a new airline started from scratch. OzJet rose and fell over the 2005/06 summer. Tigerair had a better run, flying from 2007 until 2020. Starting an airline is a tricky and costly business but the smell of aviation fuel keeps pulling the would-be airline moguls in.

Is Australia about to get another domestic airline? Photo: Getty Images

And recent memories of 2020 and an almost ruined airline industry haven’t stopped another airline industry insider from deciding he’d like to have a crack at Australia’s competitive domestic aviation market.

Choose from brad basic, brad plus, or brad class on brad

The story of Australia’s newest startup airline was first reported by The Australian newspaper’s Robyn Ironside on Monday. According to the report, a Perth-based former pilot named Brad Coombe is behind the would-be airline. Mr. Coombe wants to fund the launch via crowdfunding and keeping things simple, he plans to name the airline after himself – brad.

Brad Coombe told The Australian he’s eyeing a fleet of narrowbody twin-engine jets to scoot around Australia, saying Australians are over the status quo.

“We think it is time for a change,” Mr. Coombe said. “brad will be the answer to easy and affordable three-class travel in Australia.”

Mr Coombe also intends to name the three cabin classes after himself – brad basic, brad plus, and brad class – cabin class names that should disturb every girl who has ever had a vaguely unsatisfactory relationship with a man named Brad.

The challenge for Brad Coombe and his new airline is to stand out from the pack. Photo: Getty Images

brad crowdfunding its way to an air operator’s certificate and its first plane

Many aviation experts query whether Australia can support the existing carriers offering narrowbody twin-engine domestic jet services, let alone another player. But Brad Coombe argues now is a good time to start an airline. His timeline to be in the air is 12 to 18 months.

Between now and then, there are a few issues to sort – such as regulatory approval, licenses, aircraft, employees, funding, and so forth. Initially, Mr Coombe aims to raise funds via crowdfunding, imitating airlines elsewhere they have ventured down that path. He needs to raise around US$2.25 million to secure the all-important air operator’s certificate and lease one plane. So far, crowdfunding has raised around US$1940. But this week’s burst of publicity may help things along.

While Mr Coombe is setting himself an ambitious timeline and has several hurdles to overcome before anyone buckles up in brad basic, his crowdfunding strategy isn’t a new one in the industry.

brad still has a few issues to sort out before it gets in the air. Photo: Getty Images

Crowdfunding an airline a tall order

One of the best-known previous crowdfunding cases is Switzerland’s FlyBair. In 2019, the would-be virtual airline based in Bern targeted raising US$one million via crowdfunding. A few years earlier, UK startup flypop turned to crowdfunding to raise around $7 million with a view to flying between the UK and India. Airports have also targeted crowdfunding in order to lure airlines back.

Cashed up and sophisticated airline investors do not usually take a punt on would-be airlines via the crowdfunding route. They prefer more tried and true methods, like buying convertible bonds or taking equity stakes.

But if the startup airline fills a market niche rather than just replicates what other airlines are doing, and targets its marketing well, crowdfunding can have a half-decent chance of working. FlyBair was put together by Bern Airport as a way of restoring air services to the Swiss town. The crowdfunding campaign was supported by local accommodation houses, tourist operators, and private individuals because FlyBair would reopen transport links and bring people to the town. There was a clearly discernable benefit and dollar value for Bern locals in FlyBair getting up and running.

But if Mr Coombes want to replicate that success with brad, he’s going to have to pitch a pretty unique product offering. Offering low fares and decent service isn’t new. Local carriers Rex, Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia can all manage that when they try. Running a few leased Boeings or Airbus aircraft between Australia’s capital cities isn’t going to revolutionize the airline industry or excite the traveling public much.

To get his money and then his namesake airline into the air, Brad Coombes will need to think outside the box. Good start with the name.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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