Porter Airlines to begin summer service to Muskoka Airport in June



The District of Muskoka and the Muskoka Airport Board of Directors announced today that Porter Airlines will begin scheduled passenger service between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and the Muskoka Airport on June 27, 2019. The approximately 20-minute flights will operate twice weekly for the summer (service will end on September 3, 2019) on Thursdays and Mondays, with Tuesday departures following long weekends. Passengers will be able to connect to other Porter flights in North America.

In a media release, the District of Muskoka said that staff has been working with Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) to acquire CATSA-designated security screening for the airport. The release notes that Muskoka Airport is the first airport in Canada to obtain CATSA screening services on a cost recovery basis enabled under Section 30.1 of the CATSA Act.

“The Board is very excited for the arrival of scheduled service and the first class passenger experience that Porter will bring to the region,” said Bud Purves, Muskoka Airport Board Chair. “The Board would like to recognize District Staff and leadership from Chair Klinck for their diligent work to ensure regulatory compliance through innovative solutions to meet passenger safety requirements at Muskoka Airport. We also wish to thank the efforts of Minister Garneau and Transport Canada staff for helping to ensure this new cost recovery CATSA screening service was made available to Muskoka.”

District Chair, John Klinck, said, “Scheduled service from Porter is a wonderful opportunity to bring more visitors to Muskoka to experience all our District has to offer. The Muskoka Airport is an important District asset. Council and the Muskoka Airport Board look forward to working with our partners at Porter and RTO 12 to make this a premier experience that travelers to Muskoka deserve.”

The District Municipality of Muskoka operates the Muskoka Airport (CYQA), a Transport Canada Certified facility and a Canada Customs airport point of entry. The airport operates 24 hours a day year-round and is rated for use by all business class jets and most narrow-bodied commercial airliners.

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  1. Emmersun Austin on

    An interesting short term experiment & an excellent train would offer a much greater impact. Is Muskoka council helping 2 facilitate the return of passenger rail service ( in a new & improved version)?

  2. brian tapley on

    While scheduled service to Muskoka Airport is at least a start of maybe something practical one has to just sort of sit and wonder.

    First, the Q400 has a passenger capacity of 74 people so if it is filled to capacity for two flights a week we can expect 148 people a week to arrive this way. This is a pretty small number, so small in comparison to all of just Muskoka as to be insignificant.
    For example, Highways such as 400 and 11 can carry approximately 100 cars per minute and if these cars even had just 2 people in each then the highway would carry more people in one minute (about 200) than the airline will carry in a whole week. Even if we are very pesimistic and cut the number of cars in half to one hundred and the people per car to one only then we still out perform the plane in just one and a half minutes. I think one can see the picture here.
    Also, the good old car can take that person all the way from their home in the GTA to their destination, their final destination, be it Hunsville, Dorset, Bracebridge, Bala or Gravenhurst or any little cottage in between and not only this but it can carry a LOT of luggage and summer toys at no extra cost.

    Second, remember that although it is called “Muskoka Airport” it is actually right on the southern boundary of Muskoka. This is just about a 90 minute drive at the speed limit from Toronto so if one is in Toronto there is no time saving to using this plane as the time to pass through security and get on and off the plane will likely be greater than that required to simply drive to the airport from Toronto.

    Third, these customers will arrive in the Muskoka Airport with just a suitcase and themselves. They will need to be transported to anywhere they will actually stay in Muskoka so they can either rent a car (more time and expense) or I’m hearing that there may be a shuttle bus to some of the resort areas. This could probably be interpreted as the big Red Leaves resort and perhaps a complex like Deerhurst/Hidden Valley. I’m pretty sure any shuttle will not make it to any little resorts or motels.
    I imagine some cottage owners on Lake Muskoka might make use of this service to avoid the traffic snarl on Hwy. 400 but there are other ways to avoid this mess and even ways to fix this problem completely.
    When one considers the first point made here, it seems unlikely that 148 people off the road will relieve the traffic congestion much.

    The plane will have the ability to deliver high-paying passengers from much further away. Perhaps direct from places like New York City, Washington, Detroit and Chicago and even, with enough transfers, from overseas but remember just 148 per week and you can be assured that these long haul passengers will not be anywhere near the total carried.

    In short this is an interesting experiment that may point the way to some future system of significance and of course one has to start somewhere, but in reality this service will make little difference to our summer business.

    As a service to Muskoka residents, if this plane could depart Muskoka and completely skip the snarl of Toronto’s airport, maybe go direct from Muskoka to a major US hub like Atlanta, New York or Chicago or even direct to further away Canadian locations like Calgary or maybe Quebec or Montreal or even Halifax… well if it did this at least the residents living here would maybe be quite happy when taking vacations.

    Improving the road system and possibly finding a way to profitably operate trains again would likely be a more cost efficient way to get people where they are going.

    Last to remember is that if they ever get self driving cars perfected then they will almost make planes obsolete on distances less than about 400 miles as the saving in time by not going through airports at both ends of the trip, plus the ability to carry larger loads of luggage, go direct from home to destination and have the convenience of a personal car at your destination would make planes unattractive as an option.

    Like I said, one has to just sort of think about these things while soaking up a Horton’s double double and donut.

  3. Rob Stimpson on

    James Murphy and Kate Monk at Explorers Edge have worked on this for 3 years and it is happening. It will take a concerted effort to make sure this will work. Spread the word – all new initiatives need some time to grow – let’s make this a start to some new ways to get to Muskoka

  4. I think it’s excellent that Porter Airlines are coming to Muskoka Airport now. I think this will increase the day-to-day traffic at the airport, and that is important for the city to grow. Hopefully, more airlines will follow.

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