Porter Airlines is pushing its planned operational restart back four weeks to June 29, citing the likelihood of continued coronavirus-related travel restrictions both within Canada and across the U.S. border.
President and CEO Michael Deluce of Porter Airlines said “Our initial restart date of June 1 was something we believed was reasonable at the time,” said president and CEO Michael Deluce.
“While there are many promising signs about how COVID-19 is being contained, it is also clear that border restrictions, government-imposed stay-at-home orders and bans on non-essential travel will remain in place for many regions through much of May and into June.”
The Toronto-based carrier suspended operations on March 21, the same day Canada and the U.S. agreed to a ban on non-essential transborder travel that has been extended to May 21.
Porter airlines expects to receive funding via the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program and will use some of the money to recall some of its employees. It laid off most of its 1,500-strong staff when it stopped flying.
Porter’s year-round schedule includes service to 15 Canadian cities and four U.S. destinations. The carrier plans to rebuild as much of its pre-pandemic route network as possible.
In a news release issued on Monday, Porter said that flights will no longer begin operating until late June.
“Our initial restart date of June 1 was something we believed was reasonable at the time,” Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, said in a statement.
Porter has said they are waiving change and cancellation fees on all tickets booked by June 29.
Last week, Air Canada announced they were suspending flights to the United States as of April 26 due to an extension of border restrictions. Numerous airlines, including Air Canada, Sunwing Airlines Ltd. and WestJet announced last month they would be suspended most international flights until June.