Porter Airlines expands, buys up to 30 Bombardier jetliners

Canada's Porter Airlines announced a major expansion on Wednesday with the purchase of up to 30 Bombardier CS100 "whisper jets" to serve new destinations across North America.

The airline started operating in 2006 from an island airport in downtown Toronto, flying turboprop aircraft between 19 small airports in eastern parts of Canada and the United States. Its maximum flight range using these aircraft was two and a half hours.

"We believe it is time to spread our wings," Porter Airlines president Bob Deluce told a press conference, outlining plans to fly soon to new destinations such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Florida and the Caribbean.

To proceed, Porter must expand the runway at the Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto to accomodate the new and larger CS100 jetliners, by 168 meters into water at each end.

This expansion still requires the approval of the federal government, the city of Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority.

In a statement, Bombardier said Porter signed a conditional purchase agreement for 12 of its ultra quiet CS100 jets that can seat 107 passengers, with an option to buy 18 more in a deal worth US$2.08 billion.

The first jetliners are scheduled to be delivered in 2016.

amc/dw