Porter Airlines is bolstering its fleet with the addition of up to 80 new Embraer SA aircraft as the days tick down to the Toronto-based air carrier’s return to service.

The order is valued at up to US$5.82 billion at current list prices. It includes firm commitments for the purchase of 30 E195-E2 jets, as well as 50 purchase right options. It will be the North American debut of the Brazilian-made aircraft. 

"...Now is the time to buy aircraft," Michael Deluce, president and chief executive officer of Porter Airlines, said in a broadcast interview. "As bad as airlines have been hit, aircraft manufacturers have been as well. So [the pandemic] provided unique opportunities that wouldn't exist in a pre-pandemic world."

Porter will use the new aircraft for popular regional routes, and to establish a presence at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for the first time, the company said in a release Monday.

"We are bringing Porter's distinct style of service to dozens of new North American cities," Deluce said in the release.

"We believe that now is the right time to make this investment as the pandemic resets the aviation landscape. Adding a diverse selection of popular business and leisure destinations to our network means that we are better positioned to serve the needs of many more passengers."

Porter said it will continue to operate its fleet of 29 turboprop jets out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport.

Last week, the company confirmed it will beging the resumption of flights September 8, following an 18 months hiatus due to COVID travel restrictions.

Deluce said Porter may be open to an initial public offering in the future, but that this is "not in the cards" for the company in the near term.