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Porter Airlines Wants You to Know It Needs Your Help

A simple "vote for your favourite new destination" exercise turns into a plea for support.

Screenshot from

Which new destination would you most like Porter Airlines to add to its list? Perhaps you’d prefer Vancouver, or Saskatoon—or maybe New Orleans. Those are three of the 17 cities you can choose among in a poll available on the Porter website and heavily promoted on Facebook. It’s simple: all you have to do is pick a city and submit your postal code.

The problem with getting passengers to cities farther away is that Porter would need to use bigger planes, and before it can use bigger planes and build bigger runways for those planes, it will have to convince the City, the port authority, and Transport Canada that those are good ideas. So that’s probably why, once you’ve voted for your favourite fly-me-there place, you’re greeted by a new page that kicks off with: “We’d love to fly you there—first we need your help.”

And if you’d like to help Porter fly you to the places you like, but are not sure how to go about doing so, never fear: Porter will hook you up. It turns out your postal code was used to set you up with your city councillor; and the Porter website gives you all the information you’ll need to call or email that councillor, and suggests some useful talking points, if you happen to be at a loss.

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Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina), who is opposed to the Porter expansion plan, told the Star that he has not noticed an uptick in pro-Porter emails, and is concerned those taking the poll aren’t being given all relevant information: “Does the link also say, ‘Tell your councillor to spend public funds to enrich [Porter CEO Robert] Deluce?’” Layton asked. “Or, ‘Destroy the aquatic environment of the largest freshwater water system in the world?’”

The results of the poll should be announced soon, and Porter is also using impending-announcement teaser announcements to make its case, judging by a message it posted to its Facebook page today:

“Drum-roll please! As voted by you, your favourite new destination is…

Remember, we won’t have the chance to fly you there without your help. Visit to contact Toronto City Hall to show your support for our plan to fly you to more destinations, at lower fares, from downtown Toronto.”


  • Grid

    Why can’t they just fly long-haul routes out of Pearson like everyone else? Or are they afraid of the competition? (I like them because they are short-haul, small, intimate. The idea of long-haul flights seems out of tune with their brand.)

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      I doubt Porter can afford Pearson’s insane fees.

      • Luis Hernandez

        Airport taxes at Island Airport are higher than Pearson. I did a comparison on domestic and transborder routes and taxes on average are $10 higher at the Island.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Taxes aren’t the issue, facility and terminal slip leases are.

          • Jeffery

            This may be the issue, but TPA not very transparent. According to some sources, TPA does not own the terminal, but only operates it. Deluce, CEO of Porter, owns the fuel facility.Porter has an almost monopoly on slots; so what’s the story here?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            How would being more transparent make Pearson an affordable second site for Porter?

          • Jeffery

            The TPA is going to require millions of $$ to make the investments it needs on the airport, as well as pay the costs of infrastructure on the mainland attributed to the airport traffic and other issues, including dedicated airport parking, fuel storage farms, and a host of items identified by the City’s consultants (partially paid for by the TPA). How deep will the screw to taxpayers be? It does not matter which level of govt feeds the beast, it comes out of our pockets. And this means other more urgent needs (especially in less endowed districts within the city) are directly subsidizing this adventure. It seems to be a retrograde step in every which way. Pearson is ready with the capacity to absorb Porter immediately. Flights could start the day the hi-speed train opens for service. We just need a bit of imagination.


        • Jeffery

          The city only gets $0.94 per trip. That is a less that 50% of cheapest coffee. TPA bullied City to writing off c $45million in a secret meeting last October. We need media to explore what is going on. More of all we need to save our waterfront for future generations.

        • Jeffery

          All the more reason why Porter should consider moving to Pearson ?

  • dsmithhfx

    Porter needs your tax money to help it turn a profit!

  • guest

    Or they jump passengers to airports less than an hour away, like Montreal or Ottawa, and route the long hauls from there. The longer this campaign continues, the less likely I’m going to consider using Porter in the future, or recommending them. They’re ruining their current image with this campaign, which they painstakingly built, and built well.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      I know Porter probably doesn’t want to show it has a backup plan if the push for jets falls through, but I wonder why they haven’t done this by now. Open a second hub somewhere south or west and bounce flights from Toronto to Florida or Texas or elsewhere through it.

      • OgtheDim

        Deluce isn’t interested in making more investment unless he has to. His history with airlines shows this.

        Shame, because there is a lot of goodwill for the current short haul option out of the island.

  • Jeffery

    We need Porter to tell the public why he cannot fly from Pearson? Also need the TPA to be truthful about who owns what at the island airport? Rumours are that Mr. Deluce owns terminal, operated by TPA. Deluce also owns fuel depot. AirCanada paying exorbitant fees at Billy Bishop. We need to move beyond rumours to transparency as TPA consuming so much taxpayer money, and yet claims it is broke and needs bailout from feds? Please someone tell us!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    I agree with “guest” about Porter sabotaging their own image.

    But—what does Mike Layton mean by “Destroy the aquatic environment of the largest freshwater water system in the world?”

    Would that actually happen? Would it NOT happen if additional future flights went out of Pearson instead? Is he proposing that there be no growth in air travel? Do we know how harmful aviation environmental impacts on the lakes (or, to be precise, lake and St. Lawrence; pollutants in Lake Ontario have a hard time getting upstream past Niagara Falls) are in comparison to the impacts of other things including, say, all the salt we put on our roads; or the effluent from refineries in Sarnia producing the gasoline we put in our cars, or all the crap (like introducing the zebra mussel) we’ve done to affect the aquatic environment vis-a-vis its state prior to the arrival of European settlers? Is it possible the answer to that is “not very”?

    Pseudo-environmentalist blather is not the same as honest effort at protecting nature (and ourselves, from the environmental effects of our own activities).

    • andrew97

      A few months back Adam Vaughan said Porter’s plans meant “jet fuel in our drinking water”, apparently unaware that Porter’s prop planes are turbofans, which also run on jet fuel. So far I’m not impressed by anybody on either side of this debate.

      • whitejee

        He is saying that because if they expand, and use jets, there’ll be a 100x increase in the amount of fuel used and stored on the island.

        • Paul Kishimoto

          100x [citation needed]

        • andrew97

          I don’t know how much fuel a CS100 carries/uses compared to a Q400, but a hundred times more?? Come on.

          • dsmithhfx

            More fuel per plane (it stands to reason, since they will fly to more distant destinations) x more flights per day. I don’t know what that adds up to.

            Politician’s sound bite in a war of factually wrong & exaggerated claims by both sides?

            Got a citation of the quote where he actually said ‘a hundred times more’?

  • theMediaman

    Focusing for a minute on the topic of the article (and not whether or not I should support the airport expansion as many of these comments do), I don’t get why I should be offended that a paid advertisement on a site I read for free for should be directing me towards a particular opinion. All ads do that. There’s no deception present.

  • Astin44

    You mean a survey link for Porter wasn’t just curious about my opinion for no reason but was ALSO an attempt to engage me in their business plans? GASP! SHOCK!

  • picard102

    I’m sure if Layton did notice more pro-porter emails, he wouldn’t be eager to advertise it.

  • Shada

    Los Angeles
    M4J 3Z6

  • guest 2

    I believe that the environmental impact is not so much the fuel issue as the major landforming/filling in lake Ontario which would impact the outflow streams from the Humber. It seems possible that it will majorly disrupt some of the fish habitat that depends on the nutrient streams. Also, the extended lighting and no-fly markers would also have to be built in the lake, again disrupting habitat. But I only got to that by looking at what the regulations on larger airports are for the light requirements (and no traffic) areas below glide paths.

  • informed

    I think this is a very creative way of engaging the public in this discussion, a public that is so busy in its life that probably does not have the time to research and support a cause such as this. The small but very vocal and loud opposition seems to have so much time on their hand, that have made opposing these plans their life mission by spreading misinformation. So if you’re for the expansion, you can support it more easily. If you’re not, you don’t do it since clearly you would not want to have more destinations out of Island airport. Layton’s statement is not founded in reality and shows how politicians use the environment and other popular themes to advance their agenda without actually knowing the basics. Anyhow, bring the jets, stop the fear mongering Layton, Vaughn and the likes…

    • dsmithhfx

      “engaging the public in this discussion”

      But it’s only presenting one side for the public to “engage”, as you put it, and in a rather dishonest and underhanded way.

      Porter is not seeking input, it is attempting to manipulate politicians’ perception of “public opinion”.

      In all fairness, Porter should be required to provide opponents of the expansion with equal resources.

  • TristanTerrific

    I would rather breathe there. This is a populated part of the city and country. I would prefer to enjoy the water and the city. Let the jets (and the jet exhaust) stay at the big airport. We have too many Bad Air Days as it is.

  • dsmithhfx

    Surely even you can see it’s a ludicrously lopsided battle, when you put the taxpayer-subsidized financial resources of Porter against a handful of amateur and unfunded expansion opponents.

    There can be little doubt that Porter has thrown millions of dollars behind this campaign, and they’ve got some heavyweight political honchos behind it as well.

    They are trying to bulldoze public opinion, and going by recent polls are succeeding in some quarters.

  • tomwest

    Damn, I wanted “Hamilton” as an option. Much better than the GO Train each morning!

    • dsmithhfx

      I’ll settle for Knob Hill…