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Porter Airlines’ new fleet of Embraer jets will be serviced and repaired by the plane maker in the United States, the Brazilian manufacturer says.

Toronto-based Porter has signed a 20-year contract with Embraer to maintain its new planes at Embraer’s facilities in Nashville and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., an agreement that covers the airframe’s maintenance and access to the manufacturers’ pool of components and repair services, Embraer said on Thursday.

The first of Toronto-based Porter’s 30 Embraer E195-E2 passenger planes is slated to be delivered and in service in the second half of 2022. Privately-owned Porter has an option to buy another 50 planes.

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“This service agreement with Embraer is fundamental to Porter’s operational success,” said Michael Deluce, Porter’s chief executive, in a news release. “During this very important moment in Porter’s history, Embraer’s expertise and support is crucial as we start operations with the [E195], since no one knows these planes better than the manufacturer.”

Porter to buy as many as 80 Embraer jets for $5.82-billion in bid to expand North American network

Porter’s new fleet heralds a major expansion for the airline and includes a shift to Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Porter flies about 30 Canadian-made, Dash 8 turbo-prop planes and is currently based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which does not allow jets. Porter says it will continue to fly Dash 8s from Billy Bishop.

The airline halted operations at the onset of the pandemic in March, 2020, and has repeatedly delayed its announced restart. The latest restart date is Sept. 8.

Porter’s parent company, Porter Aviation Holdings Inc., in June received a bailout loan worth as much as $270.5-million from the federal government.

The companies did not publish the value of the Embraer maintenance deal. At list prices, the 80-jet purchase is worth US$5.82-billion.

The Embraer planes, which can hold as many as 140 people and fly 4,800 kilometres, will allow Porter to reach new destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Porter’s Dash 8s carry 78 people and have a range of about 2,000 kilometres.

Pratt and Whitney Canada makes the engines for the Embraer E195 in Longueuil, Que., and will maintain the components, said Brad Cicero, a Porter spokesman.

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In good times, Porter employed about 1,400 people. It has recalled 500 ahead of the September restart, in addition to 200 who were not laid off.

Porter will employ maintenance engineers for the new planes, just as it does for the Dash 8s, Mr. Cicero said by phone. Heavy maintenance on the Dash 8s is performed by JD Aero Technical Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

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