Porter Airlines flight cancellations

Porter Airlines cancels a ton of flights amid aggressive expansion

Porter Airlines cancelled a significant number of flights in their March schedule, despite their aggressive expansion plan including new routes and recent addition of larger passenger jets.

Out of Porter's planned 253 flights departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport, 56 were cancelled, indicating there might be some difficulties keeping up with their objectives.

Aviation data company Cirium reported that Toronto Pearson had the most cancellations in March, with 22 per cent of flights cut. Almost 20 per cent of Vancouver International Airport's schedule was cut, while it was 17 per cent at Calgary International Airport.

The Canadian airline only just started flying their longer-range Embraer E195 jets out of Toronto Pearson in February, marking a major shift for the airline which previously only flew out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop island airport.

The move has allowed Porter to step up against Air Canada and WestJet Airlines' monopoly on Canada's aviation market, becoming a new competitor along with emerging discount carriers.

A spokesman for Porter, Brad Cicero, defended the schedule cuts, saying the airline made some "pro-active" cancellations to allow time to prepare the planes for duty and to train crew members.

“Entering new aircraft into service once received from the manufacturer is a complex process across many teams and the timeline for this work has been adjusted,” he stated.

However, Cicero states that Porter's full schedule will return this spring and "build from there," assuring that "passenger demand is very strong."

He also states a number of new routes will be announced as the year goes on. Still, some remain skeptical of Cicero's explanation, thinking Porter may have been too ambitious with their expansion goals.

OAG, a UK-based global travel data provider, suggests the same issues which hampered the rebound of travel in 2022 (including employee shortages), are still a problem and risk affecting travel during the summer of 2023.

Meanwhile, Porter's schedule for July and August is 26 per cent larger than the same time period in 2022, largely due to its new fleet and routes.

The airline also has firm orders placed for another 42 Embraer jets, adding to its current fleet of 8, along with an order for 29 78-seat De Havilland Dash 8 propeller planes.

For any passengers affected by the flight cancellations, under Transport Canada's rules they must be rebooked on the next available flight if the original flight was cancelled for reasons within an airline's control. This includes low demand for seats.

Passengers may also be eligible for compensation if a flight is cancelled within two weeks of departure, according to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Lead photo by

Ken Sekiguchi

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