Arctic Fresh scraps Iqaluit-Sanikiluaq flight service

‘Large financial loss’ cited as reason for cancelling the only direct flight between Nunavut’s southernmost community, capital

Arctic Fresh Projects used Pilatus PC-12 airplanes like the one seen in Iqaluit in this file photo to provide direct flights between Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq. The Igloolik-based company cancelled that service, which had been in effect since 2021, at the end of March. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Marquis-Drolet from Panorama Aviation)

By Kierstin Williams

There will no longer be regular commercial flights between the territorial capital and Nunavut’s southernmost community.

Arctic Fresh Projects announced last week the cancellation of all flights between Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq, the island hamlet with a population of 1,000 at the southern end of Hudson Bay, after March 31.

In a news release, the company said it has taken “a large financial loss on the operation of this flight” through 2023 and 2024.

The Government of Nunavut previously subsidized the pilot project for the direct flights but decided not to renew the project as of January 2023.

“I just didn’t feel it was right to cancel that flight. We wanted to continue to support Sanikiluaq, so we continued that route,” said Ryan Haggan, a director of the Arctic Fresh Group.

Arctic Fresh continued to run the flight, taking financial losses for more than 15 months, Haggan said, adding the company would like to continue to operate it but cannot take the loss forever.

Haggan said the Nunavut government previously subsidized the flight for a year a half during the COVID-19 pandemic, when flights were difficult to manage.

With no direct flight between Sanikiluaq and Iqaluit, passengers will have to travel through Ottawa, Montreal or Winnipeg to connect to other Nunavut communities.

“Anybody who’s travelled there before realizes that without that flight, your travel expenses to Sanikiluaq are likely triple the cost,” Haggan said.

“We’re just hoping that the GN and the municipal government come to the table and we will find a way to make this route viable again.”

The 2.5-hour, eight-seat direct flight was operating once a week, on Thursdays.

Despite the suspension of commercial services, the company is still available for booking of charter services to and from Sanikiluaq, Haggan said.


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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Captain Canada on

    Why not work with air Inuit and First Air (Canadian north) to help with a better schedule to have a more direct flight through Nunavik to Iqaluit? After all aka First air has received millions from the GN to help this company make more profits.

    • Posted by Truestory on

      Canadian North will double the plane fare. Biggest monopoly in Nunavut besides Northern.

  2. Posted by 867 on

    Are they still flying to clyde river and igloolik? Their website doesn’t really give any info

    • Posted by sure on

      I dont think i have ever heard anyone actually use the Flight between Igloolik and Iqaluit… the only people that have flown with them do it as a charter.

  3. Posted by Aputi on

    Just sell the damn island to Ontario or Quebec

  4. Posted by Eskimo Joe©️ on

    Just sell the island to Québec already🤑

    • Posted by Eskimos Fan on


  5. Posted by Tricia on

    “Anybody who’s travelled there before realizes that without that flight, your travel expenses to Sanikiluaq are likely triple the cost,” Haggan said.

    Ummm, i don’t think so. i remembered seeing the price being around $2400 for this flight. Going through the south is not going to cost $7K. With a population of 1000 people with not much economic development except medical travel, I am surprised it ran as long as it did.

  6. Posted by Karl on

    Arctic fresh please start a schedule to Nuuk, so many have to organize a charter or fly the long way around that’s very expensive.

  7. Posted by Economics on

    People really don’t understand economics…

    You can complain about airline pricing all you want but airlines are a business of scale. Of course prices will be high. All these people posting day of pricing for the last seat on the plane are not comparing what other airlines charge for the last seat day of.

    • Posted by Fraggle Rock on

      Three connections (Winnipeg, Iqaluit, somewhere in Nunavik) does seem excessive for a community of 1,000 souls.

      Why is Winnipeg their medical travel destination?

      • Posted by It is on

        I believe it is but this route came from Covid times when they wanted to send women who were pregnant to Iqaluit instead of the south and then forcing them to isolate in the hotel for 2 weeks

  8. Posted by John WP Murphy on

    And of course, one might ask – why would anyone close enough to Winnipeg or Ottawa/Montreal want to fly to Iqaluit?

  9. Posted by Confused on

    Where I come from in Nunavut, Calm air takes medical travelers, probably 80% of them are on for medical travel, if they lowered their prices for the regular consumers, they’d profit more and hire more planes for each community, making the airline bigger with buying more aircrafts to profit more.

    • Posted by Confused for Calm Air President on

      I’m shocked Calm Air hasn’t hired you. Your idea would transform their business model (at least until the bankruptcy 🤣).

  10. Posted by Complaints on

    It’s funny that everyone who complains about not being able to travel would still not travel if the price dropped. If you can barely feed your family day to day it doesn’t matter if the price is $100 or $1000 you are not traveling

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