Porter Airlines expansion plan could hit hurdles

Tue Apr 9, 2013 3:14pm EDT
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* Porter seen announcing CSeries order Wednesday

* Operating jets from Porter's Toronto base poses problems

* Porter order could create third cross-Canada carrier

By Susan Taylor

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines is expected to announce an order for 12 of Bombardier Inc's new CSeries jets on Wednesday, a likely challenge to restrictions at its Toronto Island airport base.

The privately held airline, which says it will announce "expansion plans" at a morning press conference, could create a third cross-country carrier with the deal, ratcheting up competition for Canada's No. 1 and 2 airlines, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Porter is expected to announce a firm order for 12 of Bombardier's CS100 jets, with options for another 18 of the 110-seat aircraft, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources.

Porter Airlines did not respond to requests for comment, and Bombardier spokesman Marc Duchesne said the Montreal-based company would not comment on "industry speculation."

Bombardier in December announced a firm order to an "unidentified customer" for 12 CSeries worth $870 million at list prices, with options for another 18 aircraft that would swell the deal value to $2.08 billion.   Continued...