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Porter mum on five-year deal with the City

'We do not discuss details of commercial agreements with airports, so I'm not able to share those specifics with you'

Porter Airlines is saying very little about how the discount airline was able to slip out of North Bay right in the middle of a five-year deal.  

“We do not discuss details of commercial agreements with airports, so I'm not able to share those specifics with you,” stated Robyn Vanteunenbroek, in an email from Porter Airlines Thursday morning.   

Porter Airlines, which came in with a lot of excitement in October of 2015, announced earlier this week that it will be concluding its service out of Jack Garland Airport effective this September.   

"Porter is concluding its service in North Bay as of September 11, 2017, after the peak summer season," Porter Airlines said in an email statement to Tuesday afternoon. 

"We never want to leave any market that we enter because we understand the value that competitive air service brings to a community in terms of lower airfares. Unfortunately, there was not enough consistent passenger demand for us to continue operating the daily flight we have there.”

The discount passenger airline which flies out of Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto first took flight out of the North Bay airport in October of 2015.

Jack Santerre, the Jack Garland Airport Manager stated very little when asked about leaving the five-year deal early. 

"While it is unfortunate that the service will conclude in September, Porter Airlines has followed the proper process in regards to ceasing the service," said Santerre. 

At the event in July of 2015, North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said negotiations to bring Porter to North Bay had been in the works since 2011.  

"The previous council agreed to expand the airport with partners from the Heritage Fund and the Airport Board, once we had the terminal expansion complete it really opened the floodgates to attract a second carrier and Porter was on our list and after four long years we were able to put it together," noted McDonald at the 2015 event. 

Miles Peters of the North Bay Taxpayers Association believes a basic market study would have indicated from the beginning that there was not enough market support to accommodate Air Canada and Porter Airlines at the same time. 

“But what has transpired from the looks of the Freedom of Information form, is that they committed substantial amounts of money and they did it through the Airport Authority in order to conceal the fact that it was taxpayers money in support of a private enterprise,” stated Peters. 

“So what essentially transpired in my view is that they (the city) lured and tempted at any cost to get the airline here and in order to do so they had to do a lot in order to lure them into the city.”  

With Porter Airlines leaving North Bay in September and WestJet returning to offer service out of  Sudbury, the chances of another similar passenger airline coming to Jack Garland Airport in the near future seems very remote.  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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