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Porter, Air Transat Strengthen Codeshare with Joint Venture Alliance

Air Transat and Porter Airlines planes.

Air Transat and Porter Airlines are extending their existing codeshare agreement initially launched in OCT 2022.

A newly announced joint venture, referred to as “transformative,” now allows Porter Airlines' domestic flights to be combined with Air Transat's transborder and transatlantic flights.

In an exclusive on-camera interview, discussing the expansive network and vacation opportunities of the joint venture with Air Transat, Porter EVP and CCO Kevin Jackson told Open Jaw President Nina Slawek that more partnerships are also in the offing.

The alliance plays into the strategies of both carriers by expanding services between North, Central and South America, Europe, North Africa, Mexico and the Caribbean, integrating Porter's and Transat's non-overlapping networks at Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Montreal Trudeau (YUL) airports.

In a release, Porter said, "By combining both airlines' complementary networks, this alliance offers travellers significant benefits, including enhanced travel options across multiple regions."

In MAY 2023, Open Jaw reported that Air Transat and Porter had announced the second phase of their codeshare agreement. This third phase of the codeshare agreement will be gradually implemented throughout 2024.

The agreement expands the range of routes and destinations available, including the possibility of combining flights from both carriers on a single ticket. Passengers are also protected in the event of a flight delay or cancellation.

Leveraging a feeder network strategy accelerates both airlines' expansion in their respective markets: domestic and transborder short- and medium-haul for Porter and international medium- and long-haul for Air Transat. It will also foster more robust network optimization through scheduling and route planning collaboration.

"This historic agreement constitutes a significant step forward in executing Transat's strategic plan and an important milestone in developing a more sustainable competitive network," said Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. "We are delighted to further extend our collaboration with Porter, a partner that shares our customer-centric approach and values. Through this Alliance, we will accelerate the expansion of our transatlantic footprint by allowing us to leverage the domestic market served by Porter, while allowing for a more efficient use of our fleet."

"Porter is in the midst of disrupting the North American market through a significant continental expansion that will only be amplified by this Alliance," said Michael Deluce, President and CEO of Porter. "The flow of passengers on both carriers means that Porter will be able to develop a more robust network by increasing flight frequency on key domestic and transborder routes, and entering into new markets with less point-to-point traffic. As we continue receiving deliveries of up to 100 new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, our options for deploying this fleet are even greater based on this collaboration with Air Transat."

With new players entering the market over the last few years, Canadian aviation competition is reaching a head. The Canadian Press recently published two narratives outlining the proliferation of players and how the ramp-up of airline competition is setting the stage for a fare showdown.

“Today’s news is a natural evolution of the limited codeshare relationship the parties launched in 2022, and harnesses both the growing domestic and transborder jet expansion of Porter with the evolution by Transat into a more traditional airline model that serves medium- and long-haul international destinations,” said Robert Kokonis, president & managing director, AirTrav Inc.

“I expect this JV to yield strong results for both parties, and it will present great opportunities for travellers,” added Kokonis.

One industry analyst noted, “This is a massive deal. It gives Transat feed for their transatlantic business and will strengthen Transat Vacations - an opportunity for them to combine Porter and Transat Vacations.

"The other very important part of this deal is that Porter will now have access and be preferred by the entire Transat distribution network for both air and leisure business.”

Air Transat told Open Jaw that for them, this means the ability to offer more options to its customers "with flights to Canada and the United States - to complement its offering to southern/sun destinations, providing more choice to Canadian customers."

"Air Transat and Porter clients can buy tickets where an Air Transat flight connects with a Porter flight. Soon, Air Transat clients will also be able to purchase tickets for flights operated by Porter only and vice versa. The alliance between the two airlines creates a more competitive market. This competition often leads to better services and more choices for customers. With the combined strengths of both airlines, customers will have access to a broader range of destinations, flight times, and pricing options."

Air Transat added: "It’s important to note that this is not a merger - our sole focus at the moment is the successful implementation of the joint venture. Through this collaboration, we will enjoy a close commercial relationship with Porter, while maintaining our own distinctive brands."

Kevin Jackson, EVP and CCO of Porter spoke with Open Jaw’s Nina Slawek at Mr Porter’s Party in Toronto, where the focus was squarely on growing the network. In NOV, Porter's continued expansion includes a recent celebration of its first transborder route out of YYZ - Open Jaw was there to mark the milestone.

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