Porter Airlines of Canada starts Toronto-Chicago service from November 12

Friday, October 3, 2008, 8:15 by Aviation Correspondent

Porter Airlines, the regional passenger carrier based at Toronto City Centre Airport, Canada, will start flying to Midway International Airport, Chicago, the United States, from November 12, 2008.

The new schedule will begin with three return flights on weekdays and two flights each on weekends from Toronto to Chicago, Porter Airlines said in a statement.

From January 8, 2008, the daily service to Chicago will be raised to six return flights on weekdays and three return flights on Sundays.

The carrier said in the statement that it promoting an introductory advance-purchase fare on the Toronto-Chicago route of $149 each way, not including nearly $94 in fees and taxes that bring the total fare closer to $400.

Porter Airlines started flying to the United States in March 2008, starting with trips to Newark, New Jersey.

Porter Airlines currently serves Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, New York (Newark) and has seasonal flights to Mount Tremblant in Quebec. The airline has attracted corporate customers because of its home base, which is a 5-minute drive from downtown Toronto, Canada’s financial hub.

Robert Deluce, chief executive officer of Porter Airlines, said in the statement that the airline plans to expand service to cities such as Boston and Washington in the United States. “The carrier,” he added, “is targeting destinations within 400 miles of Toronto to lure business travellers from carriers such as Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline.”

“On the Toronto-Chicago route,” according to Robert Deluce, “Porter Airlines will use a state-of-the art turboprop plane, the Bombardier Q400, equipped with 70 leather seats with a reasonably generous 34-inch pitch. The airplanes are outfitted with engines that use 30% to 40% less fuel than other regional jets. We think the time-sensitive business traveller will especially like what we have to offer.”

Unlike travellers who fly between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Toronto’s much larger Lester B Pearson International Airport on American Airlines, United Airlines or Air Canada, Porter Airlines’ passengers will land at the smaller City Centre Airport in Toronto, just a brief ferry ride from downtown, the statement explained.

The airline provides shuttle-bus service from the Toronto harborfront to Union rail station close to the city’s central business district, and passengers of Porter Airlines also can access the City Centre Airport’s departure lounge that offers refreshments, free wireless internet and computer workstations.