Porter CSeries proposal unchanged despite schedule delay

Washington DC
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A delay in the Bombardier CSeries schedule has not altered Porter Airlines’ plans to take delivery of the CS100 in 2016, provided it gains approval to fly the aircraft type at Billy Bishop Toronto City airport.

The airframer now expects the CS100 to enter service in the second half of 2015, compared to the most recent timeline of about a year after the aircraft’s first flight in September 2013.

Porter announced the conditional CSeries order in April, which includes 12 firm CS100 aircraft to be delivered between 2016 and 2018 as well as 18 options. At that time, the CS100 was scheduled for a first flight in June, with entry-into-service scheduled for mid-2014.

“We don’t believe that Porter’s delivery schedule beginning in 2016 will be affected,” Porter tells Flightglobal. “Our choice of delivery slots was based on what made sense for Porter and the time required for work at [Billy Bishop] Toronto City Airport to support the CS100.”

Before those plans can commence, though, the carrier must gain permission to amend a long-standing tripartite agreement among the City of Toronto, the Toronto Port Authority and Transport Canada that bans jets from operating at the airport until 2033. In addition, these authorities would have to agree to extend Billy Bishop’s nearly 1,219m (4,000ft) main runway to accommodate the aircraft.

Obtaining approval from Toronto’s city councillors is an integral milestone Porter needs to reach to solidify its expansion plans, however the process has taken longer than expected. The council’s executive committee voted to defer consideration of the proposal on 5 December in order to further analyse how jets would impact the surrounding waterfront community. The committee now plans to discuss the issue during a 4 February meeting, whereas otherwise the topic would have come under a full council vote on 16 December.

Porter’s chief executive Robert Deluce told reporters in April 2013 that he hoped councillors would approve the plan by July 2013, but the carrier has said in recent months that it still has enough lead time to finalise its purchase order.