Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Around the Arctic October 17, 2016 - 2:29 pm

The North’s airline monopoly needs competition

“There are very weak regulations in Canada for protection of Canadian customers, especially in the North”


What’s on my mind is that soon we won’t be allowed any baggage on Air Canada or Westjet the way the trend is going.

There are charges already for one’s first bag. I notice we get wraps for our food with Canadian North and First Air flights. The one-luggage rule is on with them now, too, if you’re on their cheaper rated flights.

If you want to bring more luggage it’s extra, or you pay for higher class seating, which costs more but you still sit in the same spaces as everyone else. There is no so-called concierge spacing.

It’s funny how much wiggle room these airlines have, to be able to legally create more charges on their customers.

There are very weak regulations in Canada for protection of Canadian customers, especially in the North. Has anyone used other airlines globally for comparison and are they in the same practice elsewhere?

I know Air North doesn’t apply any of these rules with their airline over here in the West.

I paid $1,350 for a one-way ticket from Iqaluit to Rankin Inlet two-and-a-half weeks ago for my nephew.

The Pivut program is now being applied the same way as frequent flyer programs, such as Aeroplan, where only a few seats are designated per flight.

When I called about our Pivut fare, they were booking in November to use our “ownership”—the definition of Pivut—privileges. This happened after the codeshare agreements, when the airlines became partners in the business. Calm Air is part of it now too.

Another new airline tried to get in and was priced out by the monopoly.

It’s time for competition, with some changes to the current regulations regarding air service in Nunavut. There is no other way to go to, or from, up there. There’s the big difference that results in huge profit margins for these northern services. 

For transportation arrangements up there, there are no other options. We can’t drive out if we want to anywhere in Nunavut.

Where is the road from Rankin Inlet to Churchill, Man., that was being discussed at least 27 years ago?

That itself would make a huge difference and I think that if the Inuvialuit in the West can build a highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktak, the Inuit in the Kivalliq should be pushing for their own highway development, while creating much needed jobs throughout the construction industry and afterward maintenance and safety regulations.

Otherwise the high cost of travel in the North continues without abating and without possibilities for changes. Time for the Inuit to make big noises about it.

My thoughts today.

Suzie Napayok

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