Canadian North cancels Iqaluit passenger flights to make room for cargo

Thursday flights rebooked for Friday as company works through backlog of freight

Canadian North plans to bring two extra cargo freighter flights into Iqaluit on Thursday to help restock the city’s grocery stores. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Canadian North cancelled all passenger flights out of Ottawa and Iqaluit Thursday to concentrate on bringing cargo into the Nunavut capital.

The move comes after a cargo freighter from Ottawa was unable to land in Iqaluit Wednesday due to weather, states a notice from the company, posted Wednesday evening.

As a result, a “significant volume” of cargo was returned to the warehouse in Ottawa.

“We understand that there is an urgent requirement to bring essential goods into Iqaluit and our top priority is to safely provide this service,” the notice states.

The cargo drop-off counter in Ottawa will also be closed Thursday, because the company says it doesn’t have the space to store additional freight.

The Iqaluit cargo counter will remain open to shipments containing essential goods, the company stated.

Canadian North also said early Thursday morning that the Amazon hub in Iqaluit would be closed “at least for this morning,” with an update to come at noon.

The airline has been struggling with its Iqaluit flight schedule since an outbreak of COVID-19 was declared in the city late last week.

Three freighters scheduled over the weekend were postponed, company vice-president Andrew Pope said on Monday.

The impacts have been visible on Iqaluit’s bare store shelves.

Earlier this week, Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said stores should be stocked up “over the next few days”.

The passenger flight cancellations will allow two 767-freighter flights to land in Iqaluit from Ottawa and Winnipeg, according to Canadian North.

All passengers booked to travel Thursday have been rebooked to Friday.

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