A file photo taken from within an Air North Whitehorse-Yellowknife-Ottawa service. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Air North is reportedly not considering cancelling the Yellowknife stop in its Whitehorse-Ottawa service, but could scale back the number of flights.
The airline’s president told the CBC federal and territorial governments are not using the route as much as had been hoped.
“It’s become a real visiting friends and relatives market,” Joe Sparling told the broadcaster. “I think that explains why the route does so well in summer and during holiday periods. But there are certain times of the year it doesn’t do very well at all.”
Reaching a representative by phone on Monday, Cabin Radio was asked to email its request for comment to Air North, which subsequently did not respond.
However, Sparling told the CBC traffic on Yellowknife-Ottawa flights had declined year-on-year, unlike Air North’s other routes.
In June 2017, Sparling’s airline criticized Yellowknife Airport for the introduction of an airport improvement fee and an increase in the airport’s landing fees.
At the time, Air North said in a statement: “Air North along with other operators has expressed concerns about the magnitude of these increases but, thus far, we have had no success in convincing the GNWT to reconsider.”
Sparling believes those fees are in part to blame for the decline in Yellowknife traffic.
Air North is working with federal and territorial governments to try to increase their use of its flights, but Sparling said opting to reduce flights outside the summer and holiday seasons would ultimately be “a business decision.”