Beneficiaries enjoy ticket and cargo subsidies

Makivik members laud Air Inuit’s perks


QUAQTAQ – As Air Inuit approaches its 30th birthday on Aug. 28 this year, Makivik Corp. board members have few complaints about their regional airline's performance.

"We have a great airline today," Silas Berthe, the board member for Tasiujaq, told Makivik's recent annual general meeting in Quaqtaq.

Air Inuit's Ilaujuq travel rebate program has built support for the airline among Nunavimmiut, who exchange about 8,000 Ilaujuq certificates a year for travel within Nunavik and to southern Quebec.

Under the Ilaujuq program, beneficiaries receive two non-transferable certificates each year. Each certificate entitles the holder to a 75 per cent rebate on an Air Inuit ticket.

The remaining portion of the ticket also qualifies for a 50 per cent reimbursement from the Kativik Regional Government's airfare reduction program.

Together, these two programs can reduce the cost of a ticket costing more than $2,500 down to only a few hundred dollars.

A certificate may also be used to offset the cargo fares for beneficiaries who transport snowmobiles, four-wheelers or outboard motors to Nunavik.

No financial statements for Air Inuit were submitted at the AGM.

But Makivik's annual report says Air Inuit, which receives no subsidies from Makivik, maintained a five per cent profit margin in its last financial year.

To prevent losses in 2008, the airline plans to adopt a new money-saving booking policy, similar to that already in force at Makivik's other airline, First Air.

The new policy will require that a reserved ticket must be paid for within a certain time or the reservation will be cancelled.

"The reason for this is that we are suffering from very high rate of no-show passengers with the present system and the operation is becoming very difficult to control," said Peter Horsman, the executive director of Air Inuit, in a document prepared for the AGM.

Horsman cited recent examples of fully-booked Dash-8's that left with 14 seats empty and unused meals because of no-shows – "all of which has an inflationary effect on air fares."

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