Air Inuit flights to take off in Nunavik on June 18

Online and telephone bookings will open on June 12

A Dash-8 is off-loaded at the Kuujjuaq airport. Christian Busch, a longtime vice-president at the Nunavik airline, was appointed to Air Inuit’s top job as of April 1. (File photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Air Inuit will relaunch a reduced schedule of commercial flights across Nunavik, starting on June 18.

Commercial air travel within the region was halted at the end of March, as COVID-19-related restrictions went into place across the region and the country. Air travel has been limited to cargo and chartered flights for essential workers and patients accessing health care outside their community.

The Kativik Regional Government gave the green light to intercommunity travel in late May, suggesting that air travel would resume on June 8.

But Air Inuit said last week that the airline needs more time to prepare its scheduling, flight crews and booking system after a hiatus of more than two months.

The Makivik Corp.-owned airline announced on June 5 that flights should be open for bookings online or through its call centre from June 12.

Passengers will see some changes to the airline’s flight schedule for now.

Not all communities will see daily flights. Air Inuit will stop in Ungava coast communities on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Kangiqsualujjuaq continues to have daily flights.

Air Inuit will fly daily from Kuujjuaraapik to Puvirnituq, stopping in other Hudson coast communities on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. There will be daily flights between Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq.

You can see the revised schedule here.

Flights to the south, as well as flights to Nunavik’s two operating mine sites, remain restricted for now.

Once commercial flights are back in service, Air Inuit will be required to follow Transport Canada regulations, which require all its cabin crews and passengers to wear masks in flight.

There will be no food or drink service on board and minimal amenities.

There are no set regulations around seating or spacing on flights, and the airline has yet to say if it will sell all the available seats on a given flight.

The KRG’s transportation department will enforce new regulations in the region’s airports, which will be open only to passengers, who must wear a mask and keep two metres away from others. The KRG said it’s setting up signage in Nunavik airports to that effect.

Nunavik has been COVID-19-free since May 5; all 16 Nunavimmiut who initially tested positive for COVID-19—one in Salluit, one in Inukjuak and 14 in Puvirnituq—have all recovered.

The KRG warned that restrictions could be restored again at any time if the region sees any new COVID-19 cases.

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