Porter Airlines has so far denied persistent reports that it will look south, far south, for a fleet of jet aircraft to expand its service. Several aviation news outlets, including Leeham News and Analysis and Aircraft Finance Journal are saying they have confirmed that Porter, or its parent company Porter Aviation Holdings bought 30 Embraer E195 E2s to spread its schedule further west and south. Porter might be splitting hairs by denying the airline has made a deal when the holding company, owned by the same family, signed the papers but it nevertheless denied the report to several publications. It wasn’t budging when Leeham came calling. “Our response to this speculation has been provided to others and published. We do not have anything further to add,” Leeham said Porter told them in an email.
Once confirmed, the news would be a political bombshell and perhaps a legal issue as well because Simple Flying is reporting that Porter still technically has a tentative deal for up to 18 Mirabel-built Airbus A220s. That deal was contingent on the airline getting permission to use jets at its home base of Billy Bishop Airport airport off downtown Toronto. Only air ambulances and other public use jets are allowed there. Crushing the island airport proposal was among the first acts of the newly-elected federal Liberal government in 2016. The current circumstances dovetail with other reports that Porter is shopping for gates for jets at Pearson and other Toronto-area airports.