Porter Airlines Gets Final Approvals

Porter Airlines, a privately owned passenger service that's planning to make the tiny Toronto Island airport its home base, has received the final federal approvals required and will start taking reservations in the next few days.

''We're very pleased to have moved beyond the approvals stage and into the final phase of our commercial launch plans," Robert Deluce, Porter's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

The airline initially plans to have 10 round-trip flights each weekday, plus weekend service, starting in mid-October.

The company said Tuesday that it will announce its fares and schedule and begin accepting reservations in the coming days.

Porter, which will fly Bombardier turboprop planes on its routes, will be competing with Air Canada (TSX:ACE.B), its Jazz regional affiliate (TSX:JAZ.UN) and WestJet Airlines (TSX:WJA), which all use jets in their fleets.

The new airline said Tuesday it has now received an Air Operator Certificate from Transport Canada and a licence from the Canadian Transportation Agency, which is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal.

The choice of the Toronto Island airport, which is just off the Lake Ontario shore to the south and west of Toronto's main downtown core, has been controversial.

Toronto Mayor David Miller campaigned in 2003 on a platform that included blocking a bridge to the island, siting local opposition to the increased traffic. While the bridge has been blocked, there continues to be a ferry services to the island.

In addition, Jazz has cried foul over its eviction from the island airport. It had wanted to re-instate service to Ottawa but said last summer those plans were put on hold after the airline said the Toronto Port Authority declined approval of a facility lease.

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