Porter Airlines chair: 'The business is not for sale'
Despite the recent flurry of takeover activity within Canada’s airline industry, the executive chairman of Porter Airlines Inc. says the business is not for sale.
“It’s not the first time there’s been consolidation, but there is a fair bit of it going on right now. … On our part, we just keep our head down and keep doing what we’re doing,” said Robert Deluce, who is a former chief executive officer of the Toronto-based airline, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman Thursday.
“We’re now in our 13th year … I think we have got a formula that’s working.”
Deluce’s comments come one week after Transat AT Inc.’s board of directors approved a $520-million takeover offer by Air Canada, and less than two months after WestJet Airlines Ltd. said it agreed to be acquired private equity firm Onex Corp. for $5-billion.
But Deluce said Porter, a privately-held airline that offers flights within Canada and the United States, is currently well-positioned in the industry, and that the airline isn’t having any discussions around consolidation.
“The business is not for sale,” he said. “We’ve actually put in place some measures more recently to restructure our management team, particularly our senior executive [team], that sets us up for the long term to make sure we can achieve some of those longer-term goals we have in place.”
Deluce said that while the potential deals involving WestJet and Air Canada haven’t had any visible impact on the Canadian airline market yet, Porter is always aware of what its competitors are doing.
“We are very attentive, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s United [Airlines] or whether it’s American [Airlines] or whether it’s Air Canada or WestJet, or any other carrier we compete with vigorously in the marketplace,” Deluce said.
“We are a smaller company with great flexibility and we are always working hard to stay just a little bit ahead of everybody else – and so far we’ve done a good job of that.”