Arctic Fresh continues direct flights between Sanikiluaq, Iqaluit after GN ends project

GN started pilot project for direct flights between the communities in July 2021 but stopped at the end of 2022

Arctic Fresh Projects Inc. has brought back direct flights between Sanikiluaq and Iqaluit. The Government of Nunavut decided not to renew a pilot project that supported the flights because of cost. In the legislative assembly, Daniel Qavvik, MLA for Sanikiluaq, asked Premier P.J. Akeeagok why the project was not renewed. (File photo)

By David Lochead

Arctic Fresh Projects Inc. has committed to providing direct flights between Sanikiluaq and Iqaluit, after the Government of Nunavut decided not to continue a pilot project that provided funding for the flight.

“We want to continue that connection,” Arctic Fresh director of sales and operations Ryan Haggan told Nunatsiaq News.

The flights are now operating once a week, he said.

Having a direct flight linking the two communities will also make the journey more affordable, Haggan said.

Otherwise, flying from Iqaluit to Sanikiluaq would cost triple the amount as a typical route and can include stops in Ottawa and Montreal first, he added.

Although Haggan said he couldn’t say for sure that the flights will be profitable, he said Arctic Fresh is committed to making the flight route work.

“We are continuing to do it because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The Government of Nunavut conducted a pilot project providing direct flights between Sanikiluaq and Iqaluit that started in July 2021.

On Thursday, Premier P.J. Akeeagok said in the legislature that he has taken the direct flight himself and knows how inconvenient an indirect trip can be for a traveller in cost and time.

However, he said, the GN decided not to renew the project after Dec. 31, 2022, because it was too costly.

“The determination in terms of not extending the pilot program was the numbers weren’t there to justify the continuation at this point in time,” Akeeagok said.

He said statistics showed few people were using the flight route.

“For example, we paid and set aside $70,000 to pay for the empty seats,” Akeeagok said, adding a review of the program was carried out.

Akeeagok’s statement came in response to a question by Hudson Bay MLA Daniel Qavvik, who asked him to explain why the project was no longer supported.

“My position is that residents of all 25 communities should be able to travel directly to their territory’s capital city without having to leave their jurisdiction,” Qavvik said.

He also asked Akeeagok if the government will commit to tabling a report on the pilot project.

Akeeagok said the GN is open to looking at other ways to support direct flights. He committed to tabling that report in the spring sitting of legislature, including the program’s costs and the reasons that it was discontinued.

“I look forward to tabling that in the spring sitting,” Akeeagok said.

 

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Bs man on

    Bs company man once a week flight and charge lotta money for extra pounds over 40 pounds. Should just leave nunavut and join qebec they don’t care about poor Belcher Island community

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  2. Posted by Oh? on

    “My position is that residents of all 25 communities should be able to travel directly to their territory’s capital city without having to leave their jurisdiction” ,Qavvik said

    Every single community in the kitikmeot does this and its no big deal. Nice to enjoy a night or 2 in yk.

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  3. Posted by Shopping on

    Canadian North’s only profitable route is Iqaluit to Ottawa and back.
    Canadian North over-charges on that route to subsidize its flights to all the other communities in Nunavut.
    Why should Sanikiluaq be the only other community with unsubsidized flights?
    Flights through Montreal or Ottawa are popular, if someone else is paying, because they provide an opportunity for shopping. Shopping is why there’s no direct flight between Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. People in the Kivallik want to stop overnight in Yellowknife to shop.

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    • Posted by Inuk on

      How about Iqaluit, Sanikiluak and Winnipeg, come back same route to Iqaluit? Lot of patients go to Winnipeg for medical, just a thought.

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  4. Posted by lol CGS on

    This was borne of free federal money from the pandemic the GN threw around for no good reason. Shameful these things can even get off the ground but leave it to CGS procurement to make this a reality

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  5. Posted by Up North on

    Travelling from down south to Nunavut communities has become so costly and energy draining. First, travellers must overnight in a hotel in Ottawa to catch the flight to Iqaluit on the following day. On arrival in Iqaluit , they often must again, check into an expensive hotel in Iqaluit for days, depending on weather, pilot availability, or flight availability). Travellers to the north should reach their final destination the same day.

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  6. Posted by Name withheld on

    The worst thing is having to spend the night or two to get to another community within Nunavut. Smaller airlines tends to cancel due to not enough seat beings sold so they use the weather as an excuse. 2nd, Cost of hotel, availability, They charge per person in a room not per room.

    Government has to do something about these airlines in Nunavut to eliminate stop overs, it’s very costly in terms of the airline ticket purchased, hotel, food, change fee if the flight is cancelled due to weather, the list goes on..

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  7. Posted by Auto on

    Sanikiluaq for sale

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