Aimia (Aeroplan) & Porter Partnership

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Aimia yesterday declined the bid from Air Canada and its financial partners to buy Aeroplan business (read more here) and today announced partnership with Porter that would take effect in July 2020.

Porter Airlines

Porter has very limited route network within Canada that it serves using turbo props. Porter’s own program would be folded to Aeroplan per the announcement.

Here’s the press release from Aimia:

TORONTO, Aug. 3, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – Porter Airlines and Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) are announcing a comprehensive partnership designating Porter as a preferred Canadian airline to issue Aeroplan Miles on Porter routes effective July 2020. Porter will also become a redemption partner, as of the effective time of the agreement, offering up to 60% of seat inventory for the purchase of flights with Aeroplan Miles at fixed-rate prices. The arrangement includes an extensive cooperative marketing program targeting existing Aeroplan members, with an emphasis on members who travel on Porter routes.

“This is a unique opportunity for Porter to join a well-established travel loyalty program and, in the future, reach its vast member base to aggressively promote our airline,” said Michael Deluce, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Porter Airlines. “Our current VIPorter members will benefit from Aeroplan’s enhanced range of loyalty services, with an ability to earn and redeem points with a growing network of airlines and other brands.”

Points from Porter’s existing VIPorter loyalty program will be converted into Aeroplan Miles when the agreement becomes effective in 2020. Porter passengers will then be able to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles on all Porter flights, plus across the growing Aeroplan collection of more than 75 travel and retail partners. This includes international airlines covering much of the globe.

“Today’s announcement with Porter is consistent with our strategy to further differentiate and strengthen our air offering come July 2020,” said Jeremy Rabe, Chief Executive Officer, Aimia. “We’ve committed to our five million members that they will be able to choose any seat on any airline, anywhere, any time with the new Aeroplan program. By adding Porter, Canada’s top-rated airline, as a preferred airline partner as of July 2020, we will deliver our members industry-leading value on many popular routes.”

The VIPorter loyalty status program will be maintained beyond June 2020 to deliver benefits for frequent flyers, such as priority boarding, complimentary seat selection and checked baggage allowances. Other details will be communicated to members before that time.

About Porter

Porter Airlines has revolutionized short-haul flying with a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Stephenville, N.L., Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Burlington, Vt., and Orlando-Melbourne, Fla.

Conclusion

Porter is not a replacement at all for Air Canada when it comes to domestic flights within Canada (and we are not even talking about international flights here). Let’s see if Aeroplan is going to strike a deal with WestJet too that probably would make more sense for the program (not necessarily for the airline).

This could still be just a signal for Air Canada and its partners to sweeten their bid in order to acquire the Aeroplan business.

AeroMexico made a bid to acquire Aimia stake on its own loyalty program (read more here) that Aimia has also declined. Earlier this week, Oneworld and Aimia confirmed that they had held talks (read more here) about cooperating once the partnership between Aeroplan and Air Canada ends.

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