Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Muskoka Airport, which normally experiences fewer winter landings and takeoffs than Santa and Rudolph Christmas Eve, has become a parking lot for backlog of Air Canada jets as the COVID-19 shuts down half the country’s airspace.

With the U.S. border closed and Canadians domestic flights halved with fewer travellers flying, Pearson airport in Toronto is stacked up with planes.

As a result, they’ve looked for parking extra parking spots.

And they found room in Muskoka, where eight Embraer jets were parked today after flying in.

Neighbours in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge were surprised to see them drop down from the sky yesterday.

“I was surprised to see them,” said Bonny Parkhill, who lives in Bracebridge and saw them coming down over her home on the Muskoka River and called

Airport manager Len O’Connor confirmed the landings, but thought they were being serviced by SkyService, the engine/maintenance company located at the airport.

A visit to their 60,000-square-foot plant there revealed that wasn’t the case.

And a person there said it’s unlikely the jets are in for repainting while out of service at the Muskoka Aviation Center another company next door; though they have done work for Air Canada in the past.

The Norwegian flag flies over Muskoka Airport today as Air Canada jets have taken up temporary residency in Gravenhurst.
Eight Embraer jets are temporarily parked at Muskoka Airport this week due to the COVID-19 flight restrictions.
Canada’s custom services trailer sits idle at Muskoka Airport as Air Canada planes park on the tarmac.
With most of the country’s planes grounded they are being stacked outside Toronto.

Email Mark Clairmont at


Celebrating 25 YEARS of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Follow him at Twitter @muskokatodaily

And on Facebook at

Follow us on Twitter @muskokatodaily

And on Facebook at mclairmont1


Letters to the Editor always welcome:

Let us know what you’re thinking. Click on the Comment button at the end of this story to leave your comments.

Or write a Letter to the Editor …

And … please Subscribe:

Support Your Community’s Newspaper