THUNDER BAY -- Five years and 640,000 passengers later, Porter Airlines is flying high in Thunder Bay.
The Toronto-based airline celebrated its fifth anniversary in the city Thursday with a water cannon salute for its flight arriving at 10 a.m. at the Thunder Bay International Airport.
"Thunder Bay's been a strong market for us," said Bob Cordes, executive vice-president and COO of Porter.
The airline landed in the city on June 26, 2009 with three flights daily and was the first Northern Ontario destination for Porter, which runs out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Porter has since expanded to five flights per day and includes Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins as destination is the north.
"Five years ago was a great start for Porter," said station manager Sean Davies. "I think the airport has been quite vocal about the impact is has had for the city of Thunder Bay and surrounding area.
"We're very happy that a strong five years has passed and we've got hopefully five or 10 or 20 or 50 more to go."
Davies said the airport has hired an additional 35 to 40 people as a result of Porter's operations in the city.
The airline also gave away a pair of roundtrip tickets to a passenger on each of the five flights departing Thunder Bay on Thursday.