The flights to Melbourne International Airport will be seasonal, starting Dec. 19 and running through April 30. Porter will fly one round-trip flight each Saturday between Melbourne and its main base at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport near the city’s financial district. Porter will offer connections to via Toronto to seven other Canadian cities: Montreal, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins and Windsor.
Porter’s once-a-week seasonal schedule may be modest, but the route is significant for the carrier. Melbourne will become nine-year-old Porter’s first destination in Florida, one of the top leisure markets for Canadian travelers. Melbourne is located near Cape Canaveral on central Florida’s Atlantic coast. In addition to its proximity to Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Port Canaveral cruise terminal, Melbourne is about 75 miles from Disney World.
he Toronto-Melbourne route also is notable for Porter in that it will become the carrier’s longest route, surpassing its seasonal run between Toronto and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The airline will fly the approximately 1,070-mile route to Florida with Bombardier Q400 turboprops, currently are the only aircraft type in Porter’s fleet. Porter’s Q400s seat 74 passengers, but the Toronto Star says Porter will sell only 50 seats on its Toronto-Melbourne route “due to fuel and range considerations.” The flight is scheduled for 3 hours, 10 minutes (gate to gate) in each direction, according to Porter’s website.
“We constantly get asked to serve Florida. We can start doing it to a limited degree with this route and meet some of this demand now,” Porter spokesman Brad Cicero says to the Star.
“We see this as a great opportunity to meet current requests that we have for Florida flights and demonstrate the demand that exists for Porter to serve the state in a more meaningful way long term,” Porter CEO Robert Deluce adds to FLORIDA TODAY.
Porter has ordered a dozen of Bombardier’s new CS100 mid-size jet, which would be needed for the carrier to add longer flights from its hub at Toronto’s city center airport. However, Porter’s CS100 order is contingent on a proposal that would extend runways and exempt the CS100 from a ban on jet aircraft at the airport. It remains unclear exactly when authorities will give their verdict on that proposal.