Air Transat and Porter Airlines form joint venture to compete for Canadian market 

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Air Transat and Porter Airlines announced on November 28, 2023, that they will be creating a joint venture to better integrate their respective route networks.   

The move represents an extension of a partnership that has been in place since October 2022, and sees the two Canadian carriers code-sharing on a number of routes.  

In addition to continuing to facilitate feeder traffic between both airline’s networks, the deal will also see Air Transat and Porter Airlines coordinate flight schedules more closely and align their respective expansion and route development strategies.   

The two airlines also expect that through this partnership they will be able to build what will be, de facto, the third major air route network in Canada, competing with the two other major market incumbents, Air Canada, and WestJet.  

Air Transat, a carrier with a strong focus on international leisure destinations was close to being acquired by Air Canada in 2021, but the deal fell through after the European competition authorities signaled their disapproval.  

Porter Airlines, in turn, is in the middle of an expansion process. Porter was historically a small ‘boutique’ operator, providing regional turboprop services, mainly out of Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop airport (YTZ). However, an order for 30 Embraer E195 E2 aircraft plus 50 options in 2021, and an incremental order in 2022 for 20 additional aircraft of the same type, signaled the airline’s intention to outgrow this traditional market niche and become a nationwide operator. 

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