Just as New Leaf Airlines is set to sell flights from Winnipeg, Porter Airlines out of Toronto is using this same city as a test for its westward expansion. Porter is a well-respected airline flying out of Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island.

This is the ultimate small test since so far it only will bookend flights around the Liberal Party’s national convention in Winnipeg in May.

Porter flies from Toronto to a number of smaller cities like Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Windsor in addition to the larger Montreal and Ottawa airports.

Porter uses 26 Bombardier Q400s, which seat 74 passengers for its services.

Barry Rempel, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Airport Authority is hoping these test runs will lead to a more complete service.

Flights are supposed to be reasonably priced.

In the meantime we are apparently all getting lower fares this year according to IATA, the International Air Transport Association to which most airlines in the world belong.

They say prices fell by 12 percent but because of U.S. currency fluctuation the actual drop was just under 5 percent.

That sounds good until Canada’s numbers are taken out and examined separately. On that basis the celebration is over as prices actually rose 2 percent.

In the meantime we wait for the wondrous drop in fares concurrent with oil prices that have tanked.