If the restrictions can be removed based on the aircraft’s significantly reduced noise footprint, compared with existing jets, “the CSeries [is] an ideal aircraft for Billy Bishop,” says Walter Spracklin, an analyst with Canada’s RBC Capital Markets. “However, we believe that significant rework at Billy Bishop . . . will have to be completed before the CS100 is able to fly out of the island airport,” he says.
Almost exclusive access to Toronto’s downtown airport has been the biggest reason for Porter’s growth, says Doerksen. The airline carried 2.45 million passengers last year and averaged a 64.3% load factor on its fleet of 20 Q400s.
Establishing a CSeries hub at Toronto Pearson or in Montreal would be a major shift in Porter’s business model. “They have a recognized brand that people associate with the convenience of the island airport,” says Doerksen.
Porter also offers a premium service aimed at business travelers, with more legroom and free drinks, and would face tough price competition on flights from Pearson or Montreal. “From the same airports, on the same routes, only flying an advanced aircraft like the CSeries would differentiate them from Air Canada and WestJet, which have large networks and good frequencies,” he says.