As part of a “business decision,” James Murphy, CEO of Regional Tourism Organization (RTO) 12, says Porter Airlines is ending its seasonal route into Muskoka.
“This is a business decision on Porter’s part,” said Murphy. “And we appreciate the advanced notice of this development.”
Porter’s seasonal flights to the Muskoka Airport in Gravenhurst began in June 2019. They temporarily suspended operations in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed flights last summer.
“We have nothing but great things to say about our colleagues at Porter Airlines, and we are very appreciative of everything we learned while working with them,” adds Murphy. “We wish them great success as they build their Embraer service out of Pearson International Airport.”
“Porter has appreciated working with local tourism and airport partners to promote Muskoka over the years,” said Brad Cicero, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Porter Airlines. “Our joint efforts have contributed to generating broader interest in the region that we hope will have long-term benefits for the community.”
Not all is lost. Murphy says the two years’ worth of data collected from Porter flights has given RTO “an incredible wealth of data that will allow for an even more detailed and compelling business case to share with additional carriers.”
“At the time we partnered with Porter, we were an untested airport and destination for the aviation industry, and our business case was built on projections,” he said. “Now we have solid data and experience for building scheduled service at the airport, including successfully increasing the number of international visitors in 2022 over the inaugural season. Our team also facilitated the selling of packages that featured a flight and experience combination, and we’re pleased to have sold almost 500 of these to inbound and outbound travellers over 2019 and 2022. We further ran the important shuttle service in and out of the airport to disperse travellers across the entire region we represent – not just Muskoka. These initiatives definitely set us up for even greater success moving forward.”
Murphy says commercial air service will continue to be one of RTO12’s “greater transportation focus.”