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.
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.
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.|