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With Jet Dream Dashed, Porter Turns to Slower Growth



Porter Airlines CEO Robert Deluce is still holding on to the idea of flying CSeries jets one day, but knows it’s probably a far-off dream.

“We’ve kept our CSeries conditional order in place, leaving those deposits with Bombardier. Don’t read too much into that,” said Deluce, during an interview at his office at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport as his airline marks 10 years in business on Sunday.

“On our part, we’re keeping all of our options open,” he said, though he quickly adds there are no discussions under way to get jets at the island airport.

“We’ll wait until there is a better climate to talk about CSeries in the future, if that opportunity presents itself,” he said.

That’s a reference to whether there might some day be the political will — either at city hall or Ottawa — to allow jets and extend the runway at Toronto’s island airport.

In April 2013, Porter announced it wanted to move beyond regional flying by buying Bombardier’s new CSeries jets, which would allow much longer ranges, as far as Vancouver or Los Angeles, from the downtown Toronto airport.

But after a series of public consultations and studies, stretching over years, the idea was quickly nixed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government when it took office a year ago.

Within weeks, Transport Minister Marc Garneau made it clear, with an unusual nighttime tweet, that the Liberals would not reopen the tripartite agreement, which governs the airport’s operations. That meant Porter’s dream of jets was over.

Now, almost a year later, Deluce said the airline is focused on a different growth plan, centred on its Q400 turboprops.

It already owns 26 planes, outright, thanks to cash garnered in the sale of the terminal building last year. And it is buying three more planes, with two due to arrive in December and one in February.

But the airline won’t be announcing new routes. Rather, using those planes will help improve frequency of some routes, during peak morning and afternoon flights, and offer flexibility for maintenance schedules or in the event of mechanical problems or weather woes.

“Our growth now is in a different form, and it will work well,” Deluce said. “It’s slower growth. But it’s good growth.”

As a privately held company, Porter doesn’t disclose its financials or how full its planes are, but Deluce said its load factors are higher this year than a year ago, crediting it in part to the pedestrian tunnel that opened in July 2015.

PortsToronto, which operates the island airport, said the chapter on jets is firmly closed, with attention now focused on other issues.

Spokesperson Deborah Wilson pointed to the resurfacing of the main runway, which was done at night during the summer, so commercial flights could still operate during the day.

“Inch for inch it is exactly the same,” Wilson said, adding work is getting underway for a new ground run-up enclosure facility.

PortsToronto has also just announced it has approved a 27,000-square-foot expansion of the passenger terminal, now owned by Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners. That will include bigger lounges and room for more retail, including food and beverage, as well as one extra gate, which will be used when there are weather delays.

“The lounges are bursting at the seams, especially on days when there are delays,” Wilson said. “You have passengers sitting on the floor.”

Brian Iler, a spokesperson for CommunityAir, a citizen’s group, said PortsToronto did not inform area residents about the terminal’s expansion plans.

“It’s 27,000 square feet. That’s massive,” he said. “What’s shocking to me is that they give these consents to Porter without consideration to the public interest,” Iler said.

The terminal renovations will also set aside room for U.S. customs, as the airport expects to get the go-ahead for preclearance in Canada, where passengers clear customs before departure, allowing planes to land at U.S. domestic airports.

Although the move was announced with much fanfare by both the previous Conservative government as well as during Trudeau’s first trip to Washington earlier this year, implementation requires legislation by both governments.

Continued logjams at the U.S. Congress have not helped, and it is unclear whether this would be a top priority for lawmakers after the Nov. 8 general election.

“If there was preclearance, it would open up a number of U.S. airports, and Porter could continue to expand to some degree,” said Bill Morrison, associate professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“They could fly into U.S. domestic airports that don’t have customs operations such as Washington’s Reagan airport,” he said.

Although Porter flies to Washington’s Dulles airport, it is in the suburbs of Virginia. Similarly, Porter flies to Newark airport in New Jersey, but it would like to fly into New York’s LaGuardia Airport, where both Air Canada and WestJet operate.

Flying into domestic airports could give Porter some additional routes, but Morrison said the airline is still limited by the range of the Q400.

Porter has begun flying into the Orlando Melbourne airport near Port Canaveral, Fla., but it has had to cap passengers at about 60, though the plane has room for 74 passengers.

Originally, Porter capped passengers at 50, but it has determined it can carry about 60 to Florida and 62 back to Toronto.

While that has worked with the Florida flights, and it might work in some markets, Deluce said it’s not the expansion answer.

“When you have an airplane that is designed to carry 74 passengers, you should be attempting to carrying as close to the 74 passengers as possible,” he said. “That’s where your best economics are.”

Deluce noted that the airport in Florida is a secondary airport. Flying fewer passengers per plane might not be viable at main airports like Orlando or Fort Lauderdale.

Rick Erickson, managing director of RP Erickson and Associates, admitted that a decade ago he — like other aviation analysts — was skeptical that Porter could succeed.

“But the Toronto island airport is the one key variable in why it works. That model, you couldn’t pick it up and make it work elsewhere,” Erickson said. “It’s a very pronounced presence in the heart of the country’s largest city.”

Robert Kokonis, president of aviation consultancy AirTrav Inc., said at Porter’s launch, its strength was the island airport. “Now it’s their weakness, they have boxed themselves into a corner,” he said.

While Porter could still take its CSeries jet order and operate a separate hub at Pearson airport or another city, it would face direct competition from Air Canada and WestJet.

“It would not be pretty, and they wouldn’t have the network or deep pockets to go head to head,” Morrison said.

By contrast, Billy Bishop airport has limited slots, with the bulk going to Porter. Air Canada only holds 30 slots, flying only to Montreal.

Other analysts said if Porter does an initial public offering, as it tried previously and then abandoned, it could raise the necessary equity for a fight.

Deluce said he is still considering an IPO, but no work is underway, arguing the timing has to be right.

“It isn’t inconceivable at some point in the near future that we will look again at an IPO. Technically, we don’t need the cash because we are sitting with (a) significant amount of cash on our balance sheet,” he said.

“It is a useful way of ensuring we have access to public financing for the future should we ever require it,” he said.

“That’s something we’ll try to achieve at some point over the next while,” he said, adding “next while could be a year or longer or a couple of years.”

While the jet dream may be on hold, analysts say the door could always be opened at some point if politicians could be swayed.

“I’m sure Porter will continue to press for it, to open that line of communication,” said Wilfrid Laurier’s Morrison, noting that the agreement that governs the airport is due to expire in 2033.

“Conversations will open up again,” he said, adding there would be lots of lobbying, especially from the airport, which is spending millions on renovations, to ensure it remains open.

Community Air’s Iler argues PortsToronto should already be looking at other uses for the airport lands.

“A public agency, steward of very significant public assets, that has the public interest in mind would surely be required to assess the alternatives, and do the planning,” he said.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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