Canada’s Porter Airlines’ inaugural flight lands in Vermont

first_imgPorter Airlines Flight 987 landed at Burlington International Airport Thursday afternoon, marking the first international commercial flight from Toronto to Vermont and the first regularly scheduled international service to BTV in nearly 30 years. Governor Peter Shumlin, US Consul General Kevin M Johnson and Porter Airlines president and CEO Robert Deluce were present at Heritage Aviation to greet guests of the inaugural flight. Porter’s international service to Vermont is a new, public-private initiative that offers visitors from Canada easy access to Vermont and to some of the state’s best skiing and riding this winter. ‘Vermont’s partnership with Porter is a win-win for Vermont, Ontario, our tourism industry and local ski areas,’ Shumlin said. ‘Porter Airlines’ new service will provide convenient access between Toronto and Vermont and expand two-way trade, investment and tourism to help grow our economy.’ A team of state officials and business leaders traveled to Toronto earlier today on a business mission to promote tourism and economic development, and returned on the inaugural flight to Vermont with Canadian and Porter officials. Vermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller, Vermont Ski Areas Association President Parker Riehle, Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Megan Smith and local business leaders gathered at the residence of Consul General Johnson in Toronto. The Vermont delegation met with their Ontario counterparts, including city mayors and elected officials, economic development directors from the Toronto area, the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters and the Toronto Board of Trade. ‘The new direct flight to Burlington, Vermont, from Toronto, Canada, on Porter Air will open up many more opportunities for tourism, trade and investment between Vermont and Ontario,’ said Consul General Johnson. ‘This comes just in time for ski season, but we’re hoping to expand links between Ontario and Vermont and the rest of New England across sectors and in all seasons.  On December 7, the President and PM Harper announced action plans to improve links between the two biggest trading partners in the world, the US and Canada.  New connections such as these flights help link Ontario more closely to Vermont and New England, something we know business, economic development officials and average citizens will take advantage of.’ Forty-eight Canadian-owned companies in Vermont employ more than 1,500 people. Examples of cross-border connections are Ontario-based Husky Injection Molding Systems, one of Vermont’s larger employers, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc, headquartered in Vermont, which recently acquired Toronto-based Timothy’s Coffees of the World. If the initial winter service is popular, it is anticipated that Porter will consider adding more flights in winter and other seasons. Currently, Porter provides twice-weekly roundtrip flights — Thursday and Sunday — from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Burlington until April 8. ‘Burlington is a gateway for Porter passengers to experience some of Vermont’s best ski-hills, a vibrant community and a host of other local attractions,’ said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. ‘We’re delighted to be here today celebrating the first of many successful flights.’ ‘Burlington International Airport is very pleased to welcome this new service.  International service is a real opportunity for the airport and the state and is an important focus for BTV.  To see service develop so quickly is terrific and required a truly collaborative effort.  We are proud to be a part of such a focused team working efficiently to make this service a reality,’ said Bob McEwing, Interim Director at the Airport.  ‘It is important to thank all of the stakeholders, and especially the team at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for focusing on a common goal and achieving it.’ Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch wrote to Porter Airlines last summer inviting them to begin service between Toronto and Burlington.  This fall, the lawmakers worked with the airport and other stakeholders to iron out details surrounding clearing international visitors at the airport. The Burlington schedule includes weekly roundtrips on Thursdays and Sundays, with the exception of long weekends, which offer Thursday and Monday roundtrip options. Regular one-way fares start as low as $109, plus applicable fees and taxes. Special Porter ski packages and shuttle bus service for Jay Peak, Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort and Sugarbush Resort are available. For more information, visit www.skivermont.com/flyporter(link is external).Funding for this international travel initiative is equal parts public and private funding.  The state’s Global Trade Fund will invest nearly $200,000.  Participating Vermont ski areas will invest $75,000 to market the new Toronto air route. Burlington International Airport will make structural upgrades and waive fees and rents as part of the project. VSAA, Tourism Department 12.15.2011last_img