Canadian North to fly direct between Iqaluit and Toronto this summer
Airline announces plan to offer direct flights from June 3 to Sept. 30
Passenger flights between Canada’s most populous city and its northernmost capital just got a lot more convenient during the summer. Canadian North announced on Wednesday it will offer direct flights between Iqaluit and Toronto from June 3 to Sept. 30.
“We think this route opens up opportunities for folks looking to travel into Nunavut … but also for Nunavummiut who are looking to travel south,” said Andrew Pope, Canadian North’s vice-president of customer and commercial.
The flights will go through the Toronto Pearson International Airport and take place on Friday and Sunday. A direct round-trip flight between the two cities during the summer starts at $951, according to Canadian North’s website.
The service is being offered in the anticipation of an increase in leisure travel as pandemic restrictions are lifted, Pope said.
That increase in travel, which includes vacation and family visiting, is why the service will be offered exclusively in the summer, he added.
Having a direct flight from Canada’s biggest city should give economic opportunities to the tourism sector in Nunavut, Pope said.
“It opens up a new marketplace,” he said.
As well, Nunavummiut who want to travel internationally will now have a direct flight to Toronto’s airport, which offers the most travel options in Canada to go abroad, Pope said.
Outside of leisure travel, having direct flights may help for work-related travel or save Nunavummiut money who otherwise would have had to spend more on connecting flights to Toronto.
Pope said that one of the most popular connector trips for Canadian North has been to Toronto, which gives the company confidence there will be a demand for direct-flight service.
He added that the additional costs of flying into Toronto were factored into the airline’s decision to create direct flights into the busiest airport in the country.
For example, the Pearson airport charges airlines a landing fee that’s nearly double what Ottawa’s airport charges.
Sarabeth Holden, the president of the Toronto Inuit Association, said she heard about the news after a cousin in Iqaluit showed her a social media post from Canadian North on Tuesday that teased the news of direct flights between Toronto and Iqaluit.
Both of their reactions were “oh my gosh,” said Holden, who spent time growing up in Pangnirtung and still has lots of family up North.
“It just makes it more accessible,” she said about the direct flight.
In previous flights to Iqaluit, if there was a weather delay, she could be stuck in a layover location like Ottawa for several days, Holden added. With a direct flight that will no longer a problem, she said.
The Inuit population in Toronto is estimated to be just over 1,000 people, Holden said.
To extend the amount of time the direct-flight service is offered or to make it permanent, Canadian North will be looking for strong demand, Pope said.
For that demand, he added that seats don’t need to be 100 per cent sold, but flights will need to be fairy full.
“Those are all things we’ll gauge as we see the response.”