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Fewer flights could cripple business

For High Arctic hotel, construction company, airline is key

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

DENISE RIDEOUT

IQALUIT — For Resolute Bay businessman Aziz Kheraj, it won’t be business as usual this fall.

That’s because Kenn Borek, the airline that provides weekly connecting flights between Resolute Bay, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay/Nanisivik, is pulling its service in October.

Kheraj runs businesses in two of those North Baffin communities: a hotel in Resolute Bay and a construction company in Pond Inlet.

He fears both operations will be hit hard once Kenn Borek stops its flights and travel to those communities becomes limited.

“We’d certainly like to have them maintain the flight,” Kheraj said in a telephone interview.

Kheraj’s hotel, the South Camp Inn, is the newest lodge in town and caters to tourists visiting the High Arctic community of around 240 residents.

But Nunavummiut travelling from Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay also stay at the hotel. Kheraj expects that will happen less frequently after this fall. Once Kenn Borek discontinues its route, there’ll be no quick or cheap way to travel from one community to another.

People wanting to fly between the communities will have to head south to Iqaluit and then back up to their northern destination.

“For the hotel, that will definitely hurt us because the traffic that normally comes from Pond Inlet will cease,” Kheraj explained.

The businessman is expecting an even bigger blow to his construction company.

That firm, South Camp Enterprises, builds houses and office buildings in Pond Inlet.

Kheraj said the construction workers and the building supplies get from Resolute to Pond Inlet on Kenn Borek Air.

When the airline stops fly that route in October, transportation costs to Pond Inlet will quadruple.

“We can’t afford that,” he said.

“We have to re-look at how we do business in Pond Inlet. And maybe we don’t end up doing any more business in Pond Inlet if it gets too costly,” Kheraj said.

He plans to talk to the airline to see is there’s any way they can continue serving the High Arctic. He’s suggesting that rather than pulling out altogether, Kenn Borek could offer a flight every two weeks.

Even though he doesn’t want the service to end, Kheraj said he can understand the airline’s decision.

“It’s a business decision and you can’t really fault them for it because if you keep on losing money, you won’t be in business,” he said.

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