District of Muskoka staff will be considering all the options before coming back to council with a plan for the Muskoka Airport.
On Thursday morning, the district Planning and Economic Development committee was presented the most recent report concerning regional commercial flights landing in Muskoka. Officials from Explorers’ Edge and InterVISTAS presented information on stakeholder support and cost of service for the district.
Executive Director of Explorers’ Edge James Murphy says the response from committee members was encouraging.
However, while most of committee seemed excited with the details so far, there were a few concerns about the viability of attracting American tourists all the way to Muskoka. Murphy was quick to respond to these concerns by saying he was confident they would be able to attract tourists from across the border.
Murphy says many tourism operators in Muskoka are already working to cater to the American and European markets. However, these operators would support regional commercial flights as they would offer a more accessible route to Muskoka.
Today, New Leaf airlines announced it would be offering regional commercial flights to 12 destinations across Canada. When asked about the possibility of partnering with a commercial service like New Leaf, Murphy said the sky is the limit.
He added Muskoka doesn’t just have to focus on attracting one airliner, making reference to Mont Tremblant, which is serviced by both Air Canada and Porter Airlines.
Porter Airlines has been the commercial service that has been hinted at time and time again as the company Murphy would be most interested in working with starting out. However, there have been no concrete reports from either side about any official discussions of Porter bringing its service to Muskoka at this time.
Following the presentation, district staff told the committee they would take time to digest this information and come back with a list of options for council in a few months.