Porter Airlines could shake up the Canadian airline industry after announcing plans to launch jet service to destinations in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean with an order for up to 80 aircraft with a list price of $5.8 billion US.
The regional airline says it has signed a deal to become the North American launch customer for the Embraer E195-E2 jet and plans to offer flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, along with Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
Porter has placed a firm order for 30 planes and 50 purchase right options, and it likely received a hefty discount from the list price. It also has the option to convert purchase rights to the E190-E2.
The new aircraft will not operate from Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport on the city’s waterfront, where Porter currently offers service on turboprop aircraft.
The airline plans to continue to use the Toronto Island airport for flights with its existing fleet of 29 Q400 turboprops, which has been grounded for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and isn’t scheduled to resume flying until Sept. 8.
Porter will restart operations in phases, with the initial flights between Canadian destinations. Flights to U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C., will resume Sept. 17.
Full list of destinations to be announced
“Obviously the last 16 months has been a difficult time for the industry, but out of crisis is often the best opportunity for establishing growth in the future,” president and CEO Michael Deluce said in an interview.
He said the pandemic laid the foundation for the substantial growth plan the airline will enact midway through 2022 as it enters a recovery phase.
A full list of destinations will be announced in due course, but Deluce said he sees opportunities to service the southern U.S., as well as the Caribbean and Mexico.
Airline analyst Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc., called it a “bold move” that will surely elicit a strong response from Canada’s two largest airlines — especially as Porter prepares to land “in the jaws of the dragon at Pearson,” which is Air Canada’s main base of operations and the second-largest base for WestJet Airlines.
“WestJet and Air Canada are not going to take this sitting down. They’re going to put a very robust response on the marketplace because everybody’s suffered through the pandemic,” Kokonis said in an interview.
That’s good news for passengers who have seen their options expand with the addition of Swoop and Flair, and the upcoming addition of Enerjet.
But Kokonis said he doesn’t believe Porter will try to become Sunwing, Transat or Air Canada Rouge by appealing mainly to the leisure crowd. Instead, he expects it will continue to cater to business travellers who have taken advantage of the Toronto island airport’s quick access to the country’s largest city, in addition to leisure travellers.
‘I think they might just have a fighting chance’
Porter’s growth has always been limited by available slots at the island airport. Its effort to add jet service was quashed in 2015 when jets were barred.
The airline placed a conditional order in 2013 for Bombardier CSeries planes, now known as Airbus A220. It let that order lapse within the past year and switched to Embraer’s latest product after reviewing its expansion plans.
Kokonis said the Embraer plane, with 120 to 146 seats, is a great option for Porter, which has an extremely strong brand presence and customer base in Eastern Canada.
“It’s a very, very bold and decisive market action they’re taking — and again, because this carrier has been grounded more than any other carrier in Canada through the pandemic, I couldn’t wish that upon a longer suffering group of people and employees, executives and shareholders than this group, too,” he said.
“And I think they might just have a fighting chance to make it all work.”
Deluce said Porter is prepared for whatever reaction the competition might have.
“Porter has always competed in a pretty aggressive environment,” he said, referring to Air Canada, WestJet and U.S. carriers.
“Porter has the highest customer satisfaction in Canada and a really well-regarded product — and we revolutionized and changed the way people short-haul travel. And now with E2 expansion, we’ll be able to broaden our route network across North America and really do the same with longer-haul flying than we’ve done in the short-haul market.”
Robinhood Flirts With Worst Debut Ever for IPO of Its Size – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Robinhood Markets Inc. wanted to make history with its initial public offering, and now it might — for the wrong reason.
Shares in the broker behind the meme-stock revolution fell as much as 12% below the IPO price in the company’s first trading session. That puts the stock in the running to rank as the worst debut on record among U.S. firms that raised as much cash as Robinhood or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares rebounded and were last trading 1% lower at $37.52 mid-afternoon in New York.
Robinhood must finish Thursday’s session at $34.90 or higher, or else it will replace the 2007 IPO by another brokerage, MF Global Holdings Ltd., as the worst debut among qualifying firms. MF Global ended its first day down 8.2%.
Read more: Robinhood Loses More Ground in Trading Debut After Muted IPO
The stock opened at the $38 initial public offering price. For an IPO of Robinhood’s size and larger, that’s the weakest opening trade since Uber Technologies Inc. in May of 2019 among U.S. firms. Uber finished its debut session down 7.6%.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Google and Facebook will require U.S. workers to be vaccinated to return to the office – CBC.ca
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened.
The more highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Google’s announcement Wednesday was shortly followed by one from Facebook, which also said it will make vaccines mandatory for U.S. employees who work in offices. Exceptions will be made for medical and other reasons.
“With regards to our Canadian offices, we don’t have specifics to share yet,” a spokesperson for Facebook told CBC News. “We will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”
In an email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1.
The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.
“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai wrote.
Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where Google operates.
‘The stuff that needs to be done’
Google has extensive operations in Canada, but the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment as to when such a policy may be implemented for its Canadian work force. Pichai’s letter, however, makes it clear that it is not just a U.S. policy.
“We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” he said.
WATCH | How social media is helping spread misinformation like a virus:
Public health experts are lauding the move.
“This is the stuff that needs to be done, because otherwise we are endangering workers and their families,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and a former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.
“It is not fair to parents to be expected to come back to work and sit shoulder-to-shoulder with unvaccinated people who could be carrying a potentially deadly virus.”
Because children under the age of 12 aren’t currently eligible to be vaccinated, parents can bring the virus home to them from the office if they are around unvaccinated colleagues, Wen said.
Various government agencies already have announced demands for all their employees to be vaccinated, but the corporate world so far has been taking a more measured approach, even though most lawyers believe the mandates are legal.
Most employers hesitant to require vaccines
Delta and United airlines are requiring new employees to show proof of vaccination. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are requiring their employees to disclose their vaccination status, but are not requiring staffers to be vaccinated.
Less than 10 per cent of employers have said they intend to require all employees to be vaccinated, based on periodic surveys by the research firm Gartner.
While other major technology companies may follow suit now that Google and Facebook have taken stands on vaccines, employers in other industries still may be reluctant, predicted Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner’s human resources practice.
“Google is seen as being such a different kind of company that I think it’s going to take one or two more big employers to do something similar in terms of becoming a game changer,” Kropp said.
Google’s vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai explained.
The rapid rise in cases during the past month has prompted more public health officials to urge stricter measures to help overcome vaccine skepticism and misinformation.
It’s unclear how many of Google’s workers still haven’t been vaccinated. In his email, Pichai described the vaccination rate at the company as high.
Remote work still going strong
Google’s decision to extend its remote work follows a similar move by another technology powerhouse, Apple, which recently moved its return-to-office plans from September to October, too.
The delays by Apple and Google could influence other major employers to take similar precautions, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work triggered by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020, Google, Apple and many other prominent tech firms had been telling their employees to work from home.
WATCH | Business travel particularly slow to bounce back:
This marks the third time Google has pushed back the date for fully reopening its offices.
Google’s vaccine requirement also could embolden other employers to issue similar mandates to guard against outbreaks and minimize the need to wear masks in the office.
While most companies are planning to bring back their workers at least a few days a week, others in the tech industry have decided to let employees do their jobs from remote locations permanently.
TSX closes at all-time high, U.S. markets up after big jump in commodities prices – CBC.ca
Canada’s main stock exchange closed at an all-time high as commodities like gold and oil benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar on Thursday.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 81.38 points at 20,311.78.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 153.60 points at 35,084.53. The S&P 500 index was up 18.51 points at 4,419.15, while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.68 points at 14,778.26.
The Canadian dollar traded for 80.32 cents US compared with 79.58 cents US on Wednesday.
The September crude oil contract was up $1.23 US at $73.62 US per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up 9.2 cents at nearly $4.06 US per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was up $31.20 US at $1,835.80 US an ounce and the September copper contract was up nearly 4.2 cents at $4.52 US a pound.
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