Porter Airlines is boosting its presence at Ottawa International Airport with non-stop flights to Florida.
The regional carrier announced late last week it was adding seasonal weekly flights to Orlando Melbourne International Airport. The flights will operate from Dec. 16 to March 31, becoming Porter’s first direct route between Ottawa and the United States.
“It joins five other Porter routes from Ottawa, making the airport our busiest location outside of Billy Bishop Airport (in Toronto) and providing a number of choices for local travellers,” Porter CEO Robert Deluce said in a statement.
Melbourne airport is located on Florida’s Atlantic coast, about 110 kilometres southeast of Orlando and 50 kilometres south of the Kennedy Space Center.
“We’re thrilled to see Porter Airline’s continued growth at YOW,” Mark Laroche, CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, said in a statement. “What makes this route exciting is that it’s Porter’s first U.S. destination from our airport, and it offers Ottawa-Gatineau residents a new entry point into the highly desirable Orlando area.”
Porter also said it was planning a separate service to Orlando Melbourne from Toronto and Windsor. In a separate news release, the airline announced it will establish a new crew base in Thunder Bay, adding to its existing bases in Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax.
The new international flights continue the upward trend in the number of routes operating out of Ottawa International Airport.
In July, WestJet announced it was launching eight more weekly flights between Ottawa and Toronto at the end of October, bringing the airline’s total to 85. Additionally, WestJet’s seasonal summer service of six weekly flights between Ottawa and Edmonton will now operate year-round. It previously offered the direct flights only between May and October.
The extra flights come as air traffic at the airport continues to grow. The airport set a new passenger record in 2016 with 4.74 million travellers, a year-over-year increase of 1.9 per cent.
All the growth is due to increases in the number of domestic passengers, which climbed 5.5 per cent to reach 3.68 million in 2016. That’s nearly 78 per cent of the Ottawa International Airport’s total traffic.
Travellers headed to, or coming from, the United States fell 8.5 per cent in 2016 to 673,434, the lowest level in at least nine years. International traffic to countries other than the U.S. declined 9.6 per cent to 390,425 passengers, the lowest level since 2008.