Porter Airlines is jumping into the lucrative vacation business.
On Tuesday, Porter, which operates out of Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Islands, launched Porter Escapes, a new online service where passengers can book hotels and other add-ons, from city passes to golf or ski equipment rentals.
"Our main focus initially was on the time-sensitive business passenger, but now we have a very strong leisure passenger following," said Porter president and CEO Robert Deluce in an interview.
In some markets, the service will include a la carte offerings, such as a New York CityPASS for admission to landmark attractions.
The New York packages will also come with a concierge service to help travellers book tickets to the theatre and sporting events and make some restaurant reservations.
"We're building a menu of offerings, which obviously include flights, accommodations and some leisure options, carefully selected by our internal team of travel experts," Deluce added. "There will be niche properties that don't necessarily book through other tour operators or travel agents."
Packages will be available for all 19 cities where Porter flies starting on Jan. 14. Passengers can also book Porter Escapes packages through travel agents beginning in 2013.
Porter Escapes is a Travel Industry Council of Ontario-registered business and a subsidiary of Porter Aviation Holdings Inc.
Deluce added that Porter continues to work with U.S. authorities in hopes of getting pre-clearance customs screening into Billy Bishop Airport, which is now the ninth busiest airport in Canada.
Copyright 2012 Toronto Star Newspapers Limited