Bombardier CS100 see in Porter Airways livery.

Bombardier CS100 seen in Porter Airlines livery.

On Wednesday, Porter Airlines President Robert Deluce announced that his airline will be the Canadian launch customer for Bombardier’s next-generation jetliner, the CS100.  The conditional order is for 12 CS100s, along with options for an additional 18 aircraft.

The CS100 can fly with up to 110 passengers, with a range of about 5,400 km or just under 3,000 miles, turning Porter into a potential transcontinental carrier.  But there are BIG challenges in store for Mr. Deluce and his team at Porter.

The CS100 needs 4,800 feet of runway at maximum take-off weight. As you might have read in AirlineReporter.com’s story on Porter Airlines, they are based at Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Toronto Island Airport (YTZ).  The Q400 turboprops that Porter and Air Canada fly from YTZ operate efficiently and safely from the airport.  I got my pilot’s license there in the early 1980s, and the longest runway at the airport is only 4,000 feet.  With water at both ends.

BONUS: The First Bombardier CSeries Rolls Out of the Factory

Adding to the runway challenge is the “no jets” restriction in place at the airport.  Porter is likely going to face a huge battle with the various residents’ associations and the City of Toronto.

The CS100s may be as quiet as the Q400s, thanks to their new-tech Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans.  Mr. Deluce kept coming back to that point in his press conference yesterday. But nobody really knows, because the CS100 hasn’t yet flown.

I’m guessing that these are the reasons for the conditional order.

BONUS: Interior (mock up) Tour of the Bombardier CSeries in Montreal

So what does Mr. Deluce have up his sleeve?  Will he operate the CS100s with less than 110 seats, limiting the take-off weight, so that the plane needs less runway?  He says that he’s going to ask the City of Toronto to extend the main runway by 500 feet at both ends, but how many years will it take for the debate and decision, not to mention the construction?  Or will he establish a new base for the CS100s at another airport? And what about the “no jets” restriction at YTZ?

This is going to be very interesting!  I’m sure that both Air Canada and Westjet are watching closely.

This story written by… Howard Slutsken, Correspondent.Howard has been an AvGeek since he was a kid, watching TCA Super Connies, Viscounts and early jets at Montreal’s Dorval Airport. He’s a pilot, and gets away to fly gliders whenever he can.  Howard is based in Vancouver, BC.

@HowardSlutsken

CORRESPONDENT - VANCOUVER, BC. Howard's lifelong passion for aviation began when he was a kid, watching TCA Super Connies, Viscounts, and early jets at Montreal's Dorval Airport. He’s based in Vancouver, BC, so when Howard isn’t writing, he’s probably plane-spotting at YVR, PAE, BFI or SEA.

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15 Comments

In regards to a new base, perhaps YHM? It is in close proximity to YTZ, the landing fees are much lower than YYZ and the only othere airline going there, at this time, is Westjet.

YHM is far from “close proximity” to the downtown core. At best, it’s a 1.5-2 hour commute during rush hour, 50-70 minutes during off peak hours. Just saying. Politics aside, should Porter become a long haul contender, people will be lining up at the foot of Bathurst to fly with them to their US, cross Canada, and potential Carribean destinations. They are an astonishingly attentive and professional airline.

This is a bold step, considering the steep politics involved with that airport. I think there are a lot of private and public interests misaligned against them, but I also think that Porter is banking on Ford’s pro-business anti-civic slants to pass this one through.

That said, I hope the jets are as quiet as Bombardier claims, and I hope this goes through. I’m a frequent Porter flyer, and indeed, their service is impeccable. They should consider expanding though and have more than Toronto as a hub. I’m sure cities like Winnipeg or Thunder Bay could use the business.

How about some lateral thinking: What about Porter operating from Downsview (ICAO CYZD), if, as almost everyone expects, Robert Deluce doesn’t get permission to operate from YTZ? Downsview is Bombardier’s private airfield in Toronto and of course Porter is one of Bombardier’s favorite customers. I wonder if Bombardier might be persuaded to let Porter build a terminal at Downsview: after all, Bombardier is presumably extremely keen to see the CS100 (and the CS300, if possible) being operated by a Canadian carrier.

I haven’t heard the PW1524G flying, but I have heard Bombardier’s audio presentation (based on the noise levels recorded in P&W’s flight-testing of the engine on an Airbus A340 testbed and on its own 747SP testbed) of what a CS100/CS300 would sound like approaching you and climbing past you directly overhead from an airport half a mile or so away, as compared to an A320 (also recorded and, in the presentation, cut to and from alternately with the PW1524G as a contrast). If that is anything to go by, the PW1521G/1524G engine is extremely quiet,about as quiet as a turboprop.

I have heard, with my own ears on April 11, a PW1100G-JM (for an A320neo) running at 33,000lb full take-off power on the test stand at P&W’s West Palm Beach test center, out in the Everglades. Standing less than 70 yards away laterally to the exhaust of the engine, one can pretty much talk at a conversational level throughout the take-off. P&W reckons the engine is 50% quieter than current CFM56/V2500 engines and is so quiet (under 80dB, even without the acoustical treatment incorporated into the nacelle of a production engine) that it could get round the Heathrow and Schiphol noise curfews. Since the PW1521G/1524G is a less powerful member of the PW1000G family, presumably it might be even quieter than the PW11000G-JM.

I don’t think Porter will get its wish to expand YTZ but I do think Robert Deluce has got something up his sleeve regarding the CS100s. He has been around in the Canadian airline industry for decades, since he and his brother founded and owned Air Ontario and even some predecessors. He is a smart cookie.

Howard Slutsken

Hi Christine,

You make a good point about YZD – I had thought about it as well, given that it’s really in the centre of the city, and has a couple of subway stops nearby. The neighbours are somewhat used to Q400s and Global Express bizjets flying from the airport. It’s right under the not-quite-close final approach to 24L & 24R at YYZ, so airspace control might be a challenge. Back in the day when it was an RCAF (CAF) base, it was a busy place. As you note, it IS owned by Bombardier. And I’m most impressed with your comments about the PW1500G series noise levels. 50% quieter than a CFM56? That’s something.

Thanks to all for your comments! hs

Thanks for your kind comment. My name isn’t Christine, by the way, it is Christian … I’m better known in the aviation journalism community as Chris Kjelgaard, for exactly that reason of others possibly making a mistake about my name. (I have been writing on aviation for more than 30 years and I’ve edited and written for dozens of aviation magazine titles. You will be very familiar with some or even many of them.)

Howard Slutsken

Christian, my humble apologies!!! I’m going to blame my keyboard for the error!! 🙂 And yes, I have no doubt that I’ve read, and will continue to read your work.

Jay Allardyce

Hello Howard. This is unrelated to the post but I see that you are a glider pilot. Which club do you fly out of? I fly out of the Winnipeg Gliding Club.

Nice to see a fellow Canadian glider pilot!

Howard Slutsken

Jay, I actually do my gliding at Soaring NV in the gliding “mecca” in Minden NV. Amazing place!!
I guess only thermals in Winnipeg?? 🙂

If they can’t operate out of TO why not consider basing some of them at YOW? It sure would be nice to take direct flights from here rather than connecting at larger hubs.

Roland

Totally. YOW. No better place than Canada’s capital city. Will Porter’s jets? … Make it out to YVR. I now live in Brugge, Belgium and see Jetair E170s flying out of Oostende. It is a major cargo center for World Airways. I occasionally see the An-124 and the Mira 225. Wow.

Sadly, this is all smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately investors viewed Porter as a ‘one trick pony’ and
Deluce has realized that he has to inject ‘value’ into the Porter brand name if he is going to have a successful
IPO.

I flew out of YHM for 6 years and I watched Jazz come, concede
to Westjet and leave. The only profitable run was to Yeg and Yyc
primarily for oilfield workers.
Investors realized that Porter possesses an excellent niche product
but also understand that it will have limited appeal outside YTZ. If Deluce expanded west with
his Q’s he would run into Westjet’s Encore, don’t believe WJ’s warm and fuzzy exterior; they
are ruthless. Back in ontario and eastward Porter will face a very
lean and equally mean Skyregional. He is also havin a helluva time retaining pilots. So what do
you do? Announce new equipment purchases that would permit you to tap into and enhance your niche
market by breaking out into new markets. One problem..actually
many problems…
1) Rules have to change to allow jets into YTZ.
2) They would still have to contend w Skyregional’s
newly acquired E-jets which also be allowed
into YTZ.
3) Somene has to approve/pay/and/build
additional length onto YTZs runway..
4) You have to complete 3) over water…
5). The C jet has to be completed relatively on time
and successfully perform to specs ..a380/787/a400?
6) And finally, it has to be successfully fitted with
a JATO system … b/c there is NO way it will be
able to take 6 hrs of fuel and a useful load of pax
and dispatch off a 5000′ runway in dry conds. let alone
when the runway is contaminated !

Any single issu above is a deal breaker… Deluce is in a corner
and attempting to artificially inject value in Porter for
an IPO and keep trained crews in place…
this whole evolution is a dodgy long shot.

Oh I should have said that Deluce intends
To run these a/c into markets on the west coast
and 6 hours of fuel is conservative..ad enroute
Wx ,atc delays and alternate requirements and
these a/c will need almost 7 hrs of fuel in most
cases.

Howard Slutsken

Well, Darn, you make a bunch of good points. I’m sure you could do something about JATO on a CSeries with a bit of creative Photoshop work! But on your point #6, Bombardier’s specs show the CS100 having a Balanced Field Length (BFL) of 4,800 ft at Gross Weight. The BFL is the distance required to start the takeoff, accelerate to V1 (decision speed) and then abort the takeoff. It’s normally calculated based on dry runways, so you’re right about contamination. But Odyssey Airlines was just revealed as having ordered 10 CS100s to operate from the 4,900 ft runway at London City Airport, so the margins must be there.

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