New Canadian Carrier to Serve U.S.

Alternative Canadian carrier Porter Airlines will expand to the U.S. with the start of Toronto-Newark flights on March 31. Porter Airlines was launched 15 months ago, offering high frequency and a simplified fare structure on short-haul routes out of Toronto. It will operate seven roundtrips every weekday from Toronto's City Centre Airport to Newark, with two roundtrips on Saturdays and three on Sundays.

Porter, which now flies to Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax, plans to add nearly 20 points in the U.S. and Canada to its route network, including Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago. The airline acquired two new aircraft for the Newark service and said it will expand its fleet from six to 10 within the next year.

Aboard 70-seat Bombardier Q400 planes, Porter provides free snacks, wine and beer, leather seats and extra legroom. The airline runs complimentary shuttle buses between City Centre Airport and Union Station in downtown Toronto. Porter president Robert Deluce said City Centre "offers passengers a time savings of up to two hours or more compared to flying out of busy, congested Pearson Airport."

Don Carty, chairman of Porter Airlines (and former CEO of American Airlines), said, "Porter's vision of becoming North America's most innovative short-haul carrier is more of a reality with the announcement of our Toronto-New York route. We recognized a need for time-sensitive urban travelers to move quickly and comfortably between the New York City metro area and downtown Toronto and are now acting to fulfill that need."

Porter has only three fare levels, dubbed Freedom, Flexible and Firm. Toronto-Newark fares start around $120 each way. Travel agents earn 9 commission for online and Sabre/GDS bookings and 5 percent on telephone bookings. Visit http://www.flyporter.com. (AO)

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