solar eclipse ontario

Here's how the 2024 solar eclipse could affect flights in Ontario

The forthcoming solar eclipse has caused a frenzy of excitement in Ontario, but also a bit of apprehension as some wonder what negative impacts the astronomical phenomenon could have on us humans and other animals.

Much like how research suggests that changing the clocks for Daylight Saving Time equates to an uptick in heart attacks, strokes, car crashes and more, there is evidence that eclipses heighten the risk of accidents and, naturally, eye injuries from people staring directly into the sun.

As some schools are shutting down for the big day on April 8 and leaders are cautioning against driving during the event, some might rethink things like air travel.

But, experts are reassuring those who happen to be flying on Monday — or who are flying out to the eclipse path just to experience the once-in-a-lifetime show — that flights shouldn't be affected in any way.

Toronto Pearson International Airport officials have said the day will be "business as usual" on the ground, with planes taking off and landing as they normally would, and no delays or cancellations anticipated simply because of the eclipse.

The only points that the hub's airport duty manager noted in a recent video on the subject are that airfield lights will be on during the afternoon occurrence — unusual but unsurprising — and that there will likely be more traffic on certain highways in the area due to those flocking to the eclipse's path of totality in places like Niagara Falls.

That already-bustling tourist destination is expecting somewhere around a million visitors on eclipse day, and is closing down some streets amid a state of emergency as a result.

Major Canadian airlines have also said they will be operating as usual, essentially, with Air Canada telling the Canadian Press on Thursday that it doesn't expect any changes. WestJet added that it had taken a few "unspecified safety precautions," while Air Transat will be keeping window shades closed on its flights that day.

Some members of the industry are issuing reminders of the rapid darkness the event will cause, and advising staff and/or passengers not to try and observe it without proper protection. The small number of private pilots who are not permitted to fly in low-visibility conditions also may not be able to hit the skies that day.

The eclipse will kick off shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday, April 8, peaking for a few minutes around 3:20 p.m. in Toronto before coming to a close around 4:30 p.m.

Lead photo by

Alex JW Robinson/Shutterstock

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