Freight costs for air deliveries in the Beaufort Delta will be paid for by Inuvialuit authorities, using government grants, until the end of 2020.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) and Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC) said funding from the federal and territorial governments would ensure air services to the NWT’s northernmost communities continue during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The six IRC community corporations are now able to fly in community goods, building supplies, and harvesting equipment – which includes snow machines and four-wheelers – for free using regional airline Aklak Air, as long as the items are not being re-sold upon arrival.
Corporations were asked to provide the IRC with lists of equipment and machinery requiring transportation by the end of October.
Delivery costs for individual food orders from Inuvik-based food distributor Stanton’s are also being covered.
Mark Fleming, chief financial officer for the Inuvialuit Group of Companies, told Cabin Radio the aim is to bring down food prices for northerners who already face some of the highest costs in the country.
Costs being covered include those for transporting snowmobiles and harvesting machinery, “which are used to feed families,” Fleming said.
In September, Aklak Air received territorial funding allowing it to add more flights to its weekly schedule, which had been stripped back at the height of the pandemic in March.