OTTAWA -- After nearly 18 months of suspended operations due to COVID-19, Porter Airlines is once again flying high and with service to Canada’s capital city.

Ottawa is included in the initial schedule, along with Toronto, Montreal and Thunder Bay. Porter Airlines, which is headquartered at Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto, first suspended flights in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Since then, the commercial carrier, known for it’s turbo-prop airplanes, has repeatedly pushed back its return to the skies due to changing pandemic waves.

“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” says Michael Deluce, Porter Airlines President and CEO. “We currently have over 900 team members who have put in countless hours to get everything ready for our return to service, with more being recalled or hired every week. Ottawa was Porter’s first destination when we started flying 15 years ago, so it’s fitting to have it on the schedule for the day of our return.”

With direct flights from Ottawa to Toronto for around $150, Porter's return has landed optimism for officials at the Ottawa Airport, which has seen sharp declines in service and revenue throughout the pandemic. 

“As YOW’s third-largest carrier by seat volume pre-COVID, Porter Airlines is a valuable partner,” says Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Ottawa International Airport Authority. “We are delighted to welcome their team back after such a lengthy absence and look forward to growing together.”

Porter introduced a COVID-19 vaccination policy for it’s employees that requires them to be fully-vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

Flights operating out of Ottawa to other destinations, aside from the initial schedule, will return in phases: Halifax, N.S. on Sept. 13, Moncton N.B. on Sept. 17 and Fredricton and Saint John N.B. on Oct. 6.

Flights to the U.S., based out of Billy Bishop Airport, are expected to resume on Sept. 17.