MIAMI – As it makes plans to restart operations, Porter Aviation Holdings Inc., the parent company of Porter Airlines (PD), announced it has reached an agreement with the Canadian government for loans up to CA$270.5m (US$218.4m).

In a news release, the carrier (PD) said it is earmarking CA$20.5m (US$16.56m) to issue additional passenger refunds for flights canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Porter stopped flying in early 2020 during the onset of the virus and its fleet of 27 De Havilland Canada DHC-8 400s has been grounded since.

“Porter is using this money primarily as a capital reserve during the pandemic recovery period,” Michael Deluce, president and CEO, said in the news release. “We intend to draw on these funds as required in support of re-establishing operations through an uncertain period of travel demand. Our immediate focus is on being ready to fly again as soon as public health conditions allow and governments modify travel restrictions.”

Porter Airlines operates Q400 Turboprop aircraft exclusively into Billy Bishop. Photo: Porter Airlines

Hopes to Fly Again soon

Other Canadian carriers, including Air Canada and Air Transat, also have received government loans to facilitate refunds and cover some losses due to the pandemic. The loans are being made available through the federal government’s Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF).

All Porter flights booked by June 30, 2021, for travel as of Feb. 1, 2020, are eligible for refunds.

“All customers with pandemic-related flight cancellations now have the option of requesting a refund,” said Deluce. “We look forward to returning to flying this summer and welcoming passengers back onboard our planes.”

He told Canadian media that the airline hopes to resume flights on July 20. That date, however, remains in flux as the Canadian-U.S. border remains restricted for non-essential travel.

Porter is based at Toronto’s downtown airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), connecting Canada’s largest city with domestic and U.S. transborder destinations.

Featured image: Porter Airlines C-GKQA Bombardier Dash 8-Q400. Photo: misael Ocasio Hernandez/Airways