Air Canada is renewing its direct flights between Yellowknife and Vancouver, introducing a year-round service alongside a seasonal flight for aurora viewing tourists.
In a joint news release issued on Wednesday morning, the airline and the territorial government said the flights were in part inspired by the NWT's increasing tourism connections to Asia.
Beginning on September 5, a year-round non-stop service will operate daily:
- AC8833 departs Vancouver 3:30pm, arrives Yellowknife 7pm
- AC8834 departs Yellowknife 7am, arrives Vancouver 8:45am
From October 28 until the end of April 2019, a second service will operate daily as follows:
- AC8841 departs Vancouver 8:35pm, arrives Yellowknife 12:05am
- AC8846 departs Yellowknife 7:30pm, arrives Vancouver 9:15pm
In prepared remarks, Wally Schumann – the territory's tourism minister – said: "When it comes to growing the Northwest Territories’ tourism industry, accessibility is key ... Enhanced accessibility also means that visiting communities beyond the capital city will become quicker and easier."
NWT Tourism called Air Canada's decision a "great tourism success story," while Air Canada's Benjamin Smith said the airline was acknowledging "a growing demand for travel to Canada’s Northwest Territories from Asia, particularly from Japan."
Rummaging on Air Canada's website turned up fares of around $900 return for the non-stop Yellowknife to Vancouver service in late September and early October, if you choose the airline's most bargain-basement options and agree to pay for things like checked bags later. Latitude fares, which throw in all of those basics and allow changes for free, cost about $1,580 return.
Booking via WestJet, which takes about twice as long via Edmonton, produced low-price return fares of between $550 and $600, and flex return fares in the range of $900 to $1,000.