Canada’s Porter Airlines has again delayed its restart, now saying it will resume operations on 19 May.
“We want to see our planes in the sky as soon as possible and are actively working to prepare for our resumption of service,” the airline says on its website on 1 March. “However, the ongoing uncertainty presented by government travel restrictions, including border closures, is impacting our ability to operate flights.”
Toronto-based Porter suspended operations on 21 March 2020 after coronavirus-driven travel restrictions led to a sharp decline in passenger traffic. It has repeatedly pushed back its resumption of service.
Most recently, the regional carrier said it would begin to fly again on 29 March 2021.
The new target date of 1 May is the ninth potential re-start date the airline has announced since last year, and the new delay raises even more questions in the industry as to whether the airline will come back at all.
The government of Canada maintains strict travel restrictions, including a blanket mandatory testing and quarantine requirement for all inbound passengers. The border to the USA has been closed to non-essential travel for almost a year and regional travel rules also complicate inter-provincial domestic travel.
Lawmakers have not passed sector-specific financial aid for the country’s ailing air transport industry. Canadian airlines have cut thousands of jobs in recent months and agreed to suspend service to numerous destinations at the request of the government in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Porter has a fleet of 29 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s, with orders for 12 Airbus A220 aircraft, according to Cirium fleets data. It serves destinations in eastern Canada and the northeast USA.