Is Montreal Saint-Hubert Airport Porter’s New Billy Bishop?

Ian Woods

Toronto

Kevin Rozario

London

July 31, 2023

mod LR Montreal marc olivier jodoin unsplash

The city of Montreal skyline.

© Marc-Olivier Jodoin / Unsplash

At the end of July, Porter Aviation Holdings entered into a partnership with Macquarie Asset Management, a global financial services group, to develop the terminal building at Montreal St. Hubert Airport (YHU).

A new joint ownership company has been formed by Porter and Macquarie to do the job, with a local management team set to operate the facility when it is completed.

Work by PCL Construction, the general contractor for the terminal, began in August and is expected to be completed by mid-2025. PCL has completed more than $18.9 billion in airport infrastructure and facility work in North America, including new construction, expansions, and upgrades at more than 55 international airports.

The YHU terminal, which will have a carbon-neutral footprint, will occupy an area of 21,000 square meters (225,000 square feet) with nine boarding bridges and include lounge-style seating for all passengers. They will have access to food and beverage counters and shops, with all building systems operating entirely on electricity.

Porter’s President and CEO Michael Deluce has promised to build “a distinct terminal where passengers can fully enjoy their experience.” Porter Airlines, described by One Mile at a Time as “North America’s most civilized airline” has put its stamp on another small, but nicely-developing Canadian gateway, Toronto’s Billy Bishop (YTZ), so it will be interesting to see what it can do at YHU.

David & Goliath

The carrier has partnered with a giant. Macquarie Asset Management is the largest infrastructure manager worldwide by quite a distance (source: IPE Real Assets 2022 100 largest infrastructure investment managers report). The company also has some good experience in airports.

Macquarie currently has investments in the operators of Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Ecuador; El Dorado International in Colombia; the UK airports of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Farnborough, and Southampton; as well as North Queensland and Perth airports in Australia. Through Montreal’s YHU, the asset manager now has a stake in the North American market as well.

Below AirportIR, looks at the possibilities that these two parties can bring, particularly Porter whose experience at Billy Bishop Airport might be a good indicator of where it can go with YHU.

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