The other perk with Porter is that one can get through security and baggage check much faster... at Pearson it is advised to get to the airport about an hour prior to an Ottawa flight and with Porter it's only 30 minutes.

I'm going to Ottawa on business in a couple weeks - flying out on Porter and returning by Air Canada to YYZ, it'll be interesting to compare the two. The cost of each flight is pretty similar, porter is a bit more, but nothing significant.
re: Porter Airlines takes flight

I would expect that Porter will outshine Air Canada. The staff will be new and are more likely to be enthusiastic than Air Canada's laid-off/mergered/re-engineered staff. A new airline will be trying to impress. Also, Porter won't have had time at that point to realize that their business is only on the very edge of viability, and they won't have begun the inevitable cutbacks in service.
Do let us know how it goes. I'm curious.

My mind is changing slightly about the island airport. I would prefer it was not there, and converted to a public area (my ideal scenerio would be a St. Lawrence-type residental community, with parks and retail and restaurants along the water).

I despise the TPA and Robert Deluce, and hate how Porker and TPA screws the city (and AC Jazz). However, I am not fully opposed to it serving as a turboprop commerical airport subject to reasonable restrictions on operations and time of operations, at least until my dream reuse can come true.
If they get a few more bulk customers outside of the feds (ie. corporations that require bulk travel from T.O. to the other proposed ~500km cities- NY, Chicago,Boston,etc), I think Porter Airlines becomes viable..

For example, If Porter could get contracts with some of the Toronto sports teams for their division games (i.e. north-east) and their regional opponents(i.e. The Leafs, Senators, and eventually the Raptors vs the Knicks, NJ, Chicago,etc)....
Given the competitiveness and slim profit margins in the airline industry, especially in Canada, I certainly have no problem envisioning this little start-up going under in a couple of years. It may find a niche for awhile -until westjet and AC get in on it and offer more tempting deals ($$) for businesses from Pearson. Beyond a 30-40 mins extra I don't think the close location to the downtown offers such a tremendous advantage to business travellers.

Like Chicago did with their downtown airport years ago- Toronto's little island airport should be turned into something better.
Cost, travel time, and convenience all fall by the wayside when it comes to motivating factors for business and especially government travellers. What really matters is the frequent flyer plan, and I can't see Porter being able to match Air Canada in that respect.
I agree that Porter faces an uphill battle and that they will face fierce competition from Air Canada.

Where I disagree is that the product being offered by Porter is not appealing enough for its customer base, the executive traveller, based on the merits of its time saving and convenience factors.

There is a demographic of people who take the Hwy 407 because it saves time. They pay a premium to an otherwise free alternative (i.e Hwy 7, Hwy 401), because it saves time and hassles.

There is a demographic of people who pay a premium to sit in executive class because they travel often for their jobs, and the travel/commute

is the worse part of it, and it can wear you down real fast. The markup on pricing for executive class over economy is substantial, yet the demographic still exists.

I don't think it's a leap to think that there is a demographic of people who see the services that Porter would provide as extremely beneficial

to them and who would be willing to pay a premium.

At the current pricing the premium is negligible. In the future, that may not be, however, will it be as much as the premium paid for the privilege to sit in executive class?

Lol, I do not know enough about the effects of frequent flyer miles on business travellers, so I won't really argue against that.
to answer an earlier post, City Centre pax charge is $15 but Pearson's is going up to $20 soon.

Personally I think such "separate" charges which is merely moving it from aircraft landing fees to per-pax should be outlawed nationally from advertised fees - break it out on the invoice if they like but not on the advertised fare.
I agree that Porter faces an uphill battle and that they will face fierce competition from Air Canada.
I like it. Let the market decide if Toronto's Island airport is viable.
The wheels of the bus go round and round'...That's the whole controversy. In the past it has not been viable so it has to be decided at some point whether to keep it or scrap it.

My opinion is build it up and open it up to more traffic (which would have to include business jets and perhaps RJ's)- or scrap it entirely and turn it into something that most Torontonians will find useful- such as a park or some combination commercial/ residential etc...
I've been reading a lot more about the news on Porter and found some nice articles that discuss the issues and opinions.

The articles are a bit too long to cut and paste everything, so I have paraphrased some main points from these articles, and supplied links to the articles.

I've tried to balance both sides, but perhaps my editorial bias comes through..

(I also tend to think now that the added time savings for TCCA over Pearson would be at least an hour, rather than 30-45 minutes)


Some history and background..


Some Pictures of Porter Airlines..
Photo Gallery

Montreal Gazette- New airline takes a flyer on luxury

"..the overall concept was to create a brand for Porter that could follow in the footsteps of such firms as Canadian hotelier Four Seasons, whose name is now synonymous with luxury around the globe."

".. Porter could add a second destination -- likely Montreal -- before the end of the month. There are also plans to venture across the border to Chicago, Washington and New York by early next year once more aircraft are delivered."

"Several observers have noted that previous airlines, namely the short-lived Roots Air, have tried -- and failed -- to make the concept of an upscale airline work in Canada. They also warn that Toronto's island airport has historically struggled to attract passengers because it lacks a fixed link to the mainland.

Porter is hoping that a new ferry -- which runs between two new terminals -- will be enough to lure business from Pearson International Airport."

"The approach is evident in everything from the hotel-lobby-like departure lounge, complete with a self-serve espresso bar, to the supple beige leather seats that line the cabins of Porter's Bombardier-built Q400 turboprop aircraft."

"The airline should also benefit from the expertise of its chairman, Don Carty, a former CEO of American Airlines with 35 years of industry experience. He was involved in a failed takeover attempt of Air Canada in 1999, and is on the board of the yet-to-be-launched Virgin America south of the border.

Mr. Carty acknowledged recently that Air Canada can be a ferocious competitor and will try to protect its dominant market position, but stressed Porter will hold its own, thanks to the economics of its aircraft, unique location at the island airport and $125-million in investor capital at its fingertips."

PRICE Comparisions..
Does new airline offer best Value?

Porter is the most expensive at $120 each way, for a total of $321.54 including taxes and surcharges. Westjet placed second at $111 each way, for a total of $302.46. Air Canada’s fares are the same as Westjet but the airline offers a $24 discount if no bags are checked and no changes to the itinerary are made, resulting in a total of $277.02.

However, the average cab ride from Toronto’s financial district to the Island airport is less than $10, compared to approximately $45 to Pearson. This adds $90 to the cost of flying both Westjet and Air Canada, resulting in totals of $392.46 and $367.02 respectively.

Porter becomes the cheapest travel choice at $341.54, about $25 less than Air Canada. Porter customers can save $14.50 by taking public transit ($5.50 round-trip) or save $20 by riding the airline’s free shuttle bus from Union Station.

Anecdotal account..
Toronto Star-Serving reality of commerce

"but at 6:25 a.m. when I arrived — along with most of those on the same flight — there was not a single protestor in sight. I respect the importance of their views and their care for the waterfront community, so I was willing to lend an ear. . "

"Perhaps the airline is seen to serve an elite few, enriching people who don't give back? But what I am convinced of is that Porter Airlines does not simply serve business — but rather the reality of commerce in a great city. I headed to Ottawa for a meeting — and then was strangely back in Toronto by 11:30 a.m. for a meeting downtown; a seemingly unheard of act for much of the past decade. I didn't make anybody rich; I didn't even sit beside a titan of business. I sat beside others who apparently can produce things better, work better, improve their productivity, perhaps serve a not-for-profit agency and any possible assortment of tasks and perhaps a few passengers with far less mighty ambitions, like me.

The plane trip was extraordinarily quiet — in fact, the air conditioning system was louder than the propeller noise (and I sat in row 8 beside the prop). Upon my return to Toronto, there were a number of Toronto Police keeping an eye on things, but other than a few reporters, the terminal, the parking, the entire area was empty but for travellers and employees. As I drove from the terminal area up to Front St., all I could think of was perhaps even those who oppose the idea of a downtown airport have found that it is hard to heed a rally cry when there are simply so many other pressing issues regarding the waterfront and the city. "

I'm a NIMBY, hear me roar.
Globe and Mail-Porter Air set to fly amid call for boycott

"Some of the inhabitants of the Toronto Islands and lakeshore condos are calling for a consumer boycott of Porter Air, the new shuttle service that launches from the city centre airport Monday morning. But while they've got the backing of Mayor David Miller, the anti-airport crowd likely won't find many supporters among those who work in the office towers a few blocks inland.

"Just the ease of being able to get there in a few minutes, compared with the Gardiner [Expressway], has got to be inviting," said Anne Bell, a partner with an accounting service firm on King Street West. "There wouldn't be any reason why myself and my associates wouldn't look into it in the future."

Jonathan Pollack, a media executive who works on University Avenue and travels regularly, said he'd consider flying with Porter because the island airport is "exceptionally convenient."

Another Bay Street frequent flier added: "All business travellers know the hassle of getting to Pearson [International Airport] from the downtown core. And they're pissed off enough with Air Canada that they're willing to give anything else a shot."
"Some of the inhabitants of the Toronto Islands and lakeshore condos are calling for a consumer boycott of Porter Air,
Sorry condo and island home owners, you knew there was an airport there when you moved in. Reminds me of those fools in Mississauga who complained that the airport runway expansion was wrecking their property values and lives - sorry but airports expand and shrink with market demand, not through NIMBYism.

Except that all 3 levels of government collectively decided more or less than the waterfront is a valuable asset, as well as an area slated to become a neigbhourhood.

With regards to market demand, I am sure the exclusive arrangement between TPA and Porter is an expression of such.

My father flew Porter the other day. He said that "It's really the way to fly." Not only is the service leagues better than Air Canada, including a meal, but it was also the cheapest. However, there were only 10 people on the plane. While traffic may build, I think it shows the investment people have in Aeroplan and their unwillingness to "waste" a business trip by getting no frequent flyer miles.
Again- I think they're catering to a very small niche market. It would not be hard for AC or WJ to offer $$ incentives to compete with that. The ONLY thing that the island airport has in its advantage is location to the FD, and in fact many business travellors have no need to go into the FD. Another major drawback is the use of turboprops, as only very small planes can land there. There are also people who don't like to fly turboprops- simple as that. I just don't see this being viable 5-10 years from now- it hasn't been in the past and there is no reason to beleive that it will change. The cityseems to be in a headlock over this- with strict bylaws prohibiting expansion- yet with a port authority that insists decade after decade that it is viable. Enough already- either expand it or shut it down. My opinion is shut it down.