Nunavut’s re-branded Go Sarvaq’s now ready to take off

Regulatory glitch pushes inaugural flight from May 6 to May 20


A Flair Air Boeing 737-400 lands at the Iqaluit airport. Flair Air is Go Sarvaq's new partner and air carrier, operating flights between Ottawa, Iqaluit and Halifax starting May 20. (PHOTO BY BRIAN TATTUINEE /GO SARVAQ)

A Flair Air Boeing 737-400 lands at the Iqaluit airport. Flair Air is Go Sarvaq’s new partner and air carrier, operating flights between Ottawa, Iqaluit and Halifax starting May 20. (PHOTO BY BRIAN TATTUINEE /GO SARVAQ)

In case you were wondering if Nunavut’s newest air service, Fly Sarvaq, would fly at all, it will — a couple weeks later than planned and under a new name: Go Sarvaq.

Go Sarvaq’s inaugural flight will depart Ottawa May 20, rather than May 6, with new air carrier partner Flair Airlines, company officials told Nunatsiaq News April 5.

The change is, in part, due to a new ruling handed down by the Canadian Transportation Agency late last month that clarifies who can hold an air license.

The agency determined that resellers, like Fly Sarvaq — which had initially teamed up with Nolinor to offer scheduled flights between Iqaluit, Ottawa and Halifax — could operate without an air license, as long as they do not present themselves as air carriers.

A reseller is a company that purchases seats on an air carrier and resells those seats to the public, and according to the CTA, shouldn’t use words like aviation, air or fly in its title.

“While it has been frustrating to take things slower while waiting for this recent regulatory ruling, we are now able to move forward with bringing our affordable travel option for Nunavummiut,” Adamee Itorcheak, president of Sarvaq Logistics, said April 6 in a news release.

“There has been a lot happening since the initial announcement, while waiting for this decision from the CTA.”

That means Fly Sarvaq has been forced to re-name and re-brand itself. It’s now called Go Sarvaq.

Go Sarvaq, or Atii Sarvaq in Inuktitut, will sell seats aircraft operated by the Kelowna, B.C. based Flair Airlines.

At the same time, Go Sarvaq expects to finally have its website and reservation system up and running, said Brian Tattuinee, Go Sarvaq’s director of network operations.

“For the people who have expressed interest in the earlier scheduled flights, we’ve already contacted them,” he said. “Anyone that hasn’t heard from us, should be notified soon.”

“We really wanted to be in a position to take bookings sooner, but it is important to have the right travel solution for our customers and that we are following all regulatory requirements. We are committed to being a travel service option for a long time, and make all our decisions on what is the best solution for Nunavummiut,” Itorcheak said.

The schedule remains the same: a Flair Air 737-400 jet will depart Ottawa at 7:00 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays, arriving in Iqaluit at 10:10 a.m.

Go Sarvaq’s Friday flight continues on from there to Halifax, landing at 3:20 p.m. local time, before returning to Iqaluit at 4:20 p.m.

Go Sarvaq’s introductory seat sale will still offer a limited number of seats at $499 one way. Regularly priced seats will sell for no more than $900 per way, Tattuinee said.

Although Go Sarvaq hasn’t finalized any bookings so far, Tattuinee said there’s been lots of interest from potential customers looking for cheaper flying options.

Go Sarvaq staff will be moving into their new office space, located near the Iqaluit terminal, in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Sarvaq Logistics is still partnered with Nolinor on a charter service for Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine.

The change in partner and air carrier isn’t related to the CTA ruling, Tattuinee explained, but rather to give the service more flexibility and room for growth.

And they hope to expand, if all goes well.

“That’s always been the intention. It wasn’t just Iqaluit that we wanted to serve,” Tattuinee said. “We do have a lot of plans, but we have to learn to walk before we can run.”

You can contact Go Sarvaq at 1-888-4SARVAQ.

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