Porter Air adds Florida to its Route Map


Porter Air is betting on seasonal snowbird demand to help buoy its newly announced service between Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto and Melbourne, Florida. The company is marketing the destination as “Orlando-Melbourne” and will fly 1x weekly during the winter season on Saturdays starting 19 December 2015. The new route is the longest the carrier offers. New, international service was previously hinted at by the Melbourne Airport Authority and I predicted that it would be Porter Air at that time.

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Coming in at 1,076 miles and 3:10 block time the new route is spectacularly long to be operated by a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400. The short runway at the Toronto downtown airport will require the flight to go out weight restricted to only 50 passengers. That, along with free beer and snacks, part of the Porter service offering, should help make it a bit more comfortable.

But, surprisingly enough, the YTZ-MLB route is not the longest Q400 scheduled flight in the world. It comes in at number 2 behind Yakutia (R3)’s service from Yakutsk to Ulan-Ude in Russia; that route is about 20 miles longer.

The longest Q400 route in the world
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Of the top 25 Q400 routes there are 8 operated by Air Baltic.

Air Baltic’s longest Q400 Routes
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Yakutia has 5 of the top 25.

The longest Yakutia Q400 routes
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Air Canada, South Africa Airways, SATA, Tassili, Luxair and AeroUnion round out the ranks, along with a pair from Porter Air.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

13 Comments

  1. I LOVE Porter! It’s such a great little airline. I always use them from New York to Toronto. It’s like business class experience at a discounted-economy fare! You get complimentary lounge access, wine, beer inflight snacks and light meals all at no extra charge. Plus the seats are soft leather.

  2. Great research!!

    I wonder what took place in Porter’s strategy discussions for them to think that they’d be competitive on this route. A slow propeller aircraft and only once per week service would seem to put them at a incredible disadvantage. The only advantage I can think would be to winter residents of Melbourne itself who would rather fly directly to their hometown rather than drive an hour from Orlando.

    1. I wonder the same thing. You are quite a ways out from Orlando, although if you are going to be staying for at least a week until the return flight, perhaps the long drive isn’t terrible. I do think they have to imagine a big chunk of the travelers are folks who have second homes or timeshares out along the coast in the Melbourne area.

      1. I’m betting that most passengers are headed to the coast, not to Orlando nor the theme parks in the area. But also calling it “Orlando-Melbourne” helps a smidgen with the marketing, even if it is a Ryanair-esqe move in terms of advertising what isn’t really there. Then again, Frontier does the same thing here in North America so not all that uncommon, I suppose.

  3. I don’t know if they’re still flying it nonstop with the Q-400 or not, but a couple of years ago Ethiopian was flying the Q-400 on one of its ZNZ-ADD flights. That one is 1,045 and we both know somebody who has flown it on that equipment.

    1. Yeah, when I posted that comment last night I looked and didn’t see it. At the time they were flying it with the Q-400, they were flying two flights a day, one on the prop and the other alternating between a 767 and 787. Talk about a difference in equipment on the same route.

      Now it looks like they’re operating it as a one-stop service via JRO with the 787.

  4. Just curious, but where do you get your information about airlines flying certain aircraft on certain routes. I try to keep up with this information as much as possible, but with the daily changes around the world it’s impossible to keep up!

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