By Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Published Nov 01, 2021
Air North is reinstating flights between Ottawa and Whitehorse via Yellowknife from April 30, 2022 until early September that year.
The airline said the route had been suspended since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of travel restrictions in Canada’s North.
Benjamin Ryan, Air North’s chief operating officer, said a few flights would also serve the route this Christmas and the airline was considering whether to add flights for the forthcoming spring break.
Ryan said Air North was “cautiously optimistic” about the decision to reintroduce the route.
“We certainly believe that the northern economies rely on air access,” he said.
“We work with the tourism organizations in both territories on more specific planning and we’re not 100-per-cent sure what the tourism seasons are going to look like in either territory, but we do certainly think these flights can assist in supporting tourism.”
At N.W.T. Tourism’s annual general meeting last week, marketing director Joel Walton said the organization was frequently asked which airlines would be operating, and where, when travel restrictions fully lift.
“A lot of these questions we don’t have answers to, because the airlines don’t actually have the answer either,” Walton told delegates.
Air Canada has so far reintroduced a Calgary-Yellowknife service but told Cabin Radio non-stop flights from the N.W.T. to Edmonton and Vancouver will only return “when commercial factors make sense.”
The airline said those factors include demand, connection opportunities, and “other economic reasons” such as the availability of aircraft and staff.
“Our Vancouver-Yellowknife flights were first scheduled to connect to and from our Asia flights to support the tourism demand from Asia to the N.W.T.,” an Air Canada spokesperson said by email.
“When we rebuild our Asia schedule, we will further review the commercial factors for the Vancouver-Yellowknife services.”
This item is reprinted with permission from Cabin Radio. See article HERE.
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