Porter to add up to four new interline partners by end-2012

Washington DC
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Canada's Porter Airlines will add three or four new interline partners by end-2012, after introducing its first two interline agreements earlier this year.

The Bombardier Q400 operator, based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, launched interline partnerships with Qatar Airways and South African Airways in recent months. Porter is likely to expand these partnerships to include codesharing on flights as well, the airline's chief executive and president Robert Deluce tells Flightglobal.

It is also targeting partners that operate to its destinations of Washington DC Dulles, New York Newark and Boston and specifically wants to work with "high quality" airlines that provide the same level of service that it offers, says Deluce. "We want to have half a dozen interline agreements in place [by the end of the year], and we will be quite selective."

Porter has steadily marketed itself as a business traveller-focused carrier, providing passengers with lounge access, snacks, drinks and complimentary alcoholic beverages on-board.

While Deluce did not name specific airlines, he says US low-cost carrier JetBlue is "potentially interesting" when asked. Boston is one of JetBlue's six focus cities, and the airline has said it aims to increase its presence significantly in Boston in the coming years,

Deluce points out that Porter and JetBlue are the only two North American carriers to achieve a four-star rating by Skytrax. "From the service level point of view, that's pretty complementary," he says.

"We are flying into New York and Boston and they have pretty good networks there."

JetBlue is based at New York John F. Kennedy, but operates to all three airports in New York.

Deluce also indicates that Porter could add an Asian carrier as an interline partner, as he notes that its partnerships with Qatar and South African give it good connections to the Middle East and Africa.

"If you look at Newark and Washington DC, there are some interesting Asian connections," he says.

Three Asian carriers operate to New York Newark: Air India, Jet Airways and Singapore Airlines, Flightglobal's database shows. All Nippon Airways and Korean Air serve Washington DC Dulles.