Porter Airlines adding direct service from YOW to Boston, Newark, Quebec City and Thunder Bay in 2023

Porter airplanes

Porter Airlines is launching four new direct routes from Ottawa International Airport to Boston, Newark, Quebec City and Thunder Bay next year, doubling the number of destinations it serves from the nation’s capital and adding another U.S. city to the airport’s transborder lineup.

The new flights are slated to begin on March 27, 2023, the Toronto-based airline announced Wednesday. 

Porter – which currently operates flights from Ottawa to Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – will be the only carrier providing year-round, daily direct flights from the capital to Boston, Quebec City and Thunder Bay. It will also be the only airline offering direct flights from Ottawa to Boston.

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“We’re thrilled about Porter’s expansion at YOW,” airport authority spokesperson Krista Kealey said in an email to OBJ, referring to the terminal by its call letters. “We’re delighted they’re adding to our growing transborder network and offering more choices and destinations for our passengers.”

The new routes will be served by 78-seat De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft, with round-trip fares ranging from $322 for the Quebec City flight to $366 for trips to Thunder Bay.

The announcement comes less than a week after Porter said it will start flying four times a day from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Ottawa with its new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, beginning in February.

“Ottawa was our first destination when we launched in 2006, and it has always been a critical location for Porter throughout our history,” Porter president and CEO Michael Deluce said in a statement. “The network expansion in Ottawa shows our commitment to the Ottawa-Gatineau region and its people. We expect our presence in Ottawa will continue growing.”

The new routes come as Porter prepares to further ramp up its operations at the Ottawa terminal.

Last month, the airline announced it was teaming up with YOW on a $65-million plan to build two new aircraft maintenance hangars that will eventually employ hundreds of workers in the capital.

The two new hangars will total about 150,000 square feet and be used to maintain Porter’s fleet. The facilities are being built in two phases, with the first scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and the second in the first quarter of 2024. 

Kealey said the expanded routes and the new construction project demonstrate Porter’s “commitment to Ottawa-Gatineau as a key passenger market and a key maintenance base for its expanded fleet. There’s a clear link between the two, and we’re excited for the future and related expansion.”

The announcement will also be music to the ears of Ottawa business leaders, who have long argued that a lack of direct connections to major U.S. and European destinations hampers the region’s ability to compete economically on the world stage. 

An Ottawa Tourism report released earlier this month calls on industry officials to work with the airport authority and other government officials to restore international routes that were suspended during the pandemic.

The report’s authors say YOW must strive to become “a strong regional hub with both traditional and emerging carriers” if it wants to compete with the likes of Toronto and Montreal.

That sentiment was echoed by one of the local tech industry’s most prominent advocates.

“It’s a problem that we have to work our way through,” Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay told OBJ last week. “It’s going to take time to work through it. The single most important thing that we can all do as an economy is to drive demand (for more direct flights to international destinations). Without demand, we are not going to attract the flights that we want to have. We have to really stay strong and vigilant on that one.”

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