The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has taken a big bite out of Porter Airlines’ Big Apple ambitions.
The regulator ruled the Toronto-based upstart airline must trim its daily schedule of 14 flights between Hogtown and Newark, N.J. by four in order to reduce congestion and delays at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Porter, which operates out of the Toronto City Centre Airport, argued the reduced schedule violates the U.S.-Canada open skies pact, adding that the market should determine the amount of competition that exists.
But the FAA was unconvinced, saying Porter’s new, slimmed-down schedule would take effect in the summer. That means Porter must cancel 29 per cent of its weekday flights and reduce its Sunday schedule. The carrier said that given the 11pm curfew in effect at the Toronto Island Airport the rules will effectively limit its Toronto-Newark flying hours to between 7am and 5pm.
Porter president Robert Deluce had hoped to land at Newark at 5:30pm and leave again at 6:30pm, to capitalize on business travellers heading to and from New York. It has so far sold 25,000 seats on the Toronto-Newark route, competing with Air Canada and Houston-based carrier Continental.
The upstart airline, which began operations in October 2006 flying between Toronto and Ottawa, has expanded to other destinations including Montreal, Halifax and Quebec City.