Forest fire smoke forces delays in Air Inuit services

Airline’s cargo hubs were impacted, causing travel and cargo shipment delays in Nunavik communities

Numerous Air Inuit flights, including cargo shipments, were cancelled last week as forest fires blocked access to the company’s La Grande hub. It has adapted and by Sunday the hub should be back in action, according to Air Inuit president Christian Busch. (Photo by Cedric Gallant)

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Forest fires are being blamed after Air Inuit flights along both Nunavik coasts were cancelled multiple times last week due to poor visibility, impacting people’s personal travel and cargo shipments.

The airline’s operations continue to be affected by the smoke this week, as well.

The fires displaced Air Inuit’s operations at its major hub in La Grande, along the east coast of James Bay, which has slowed down cargo services, according to company president Christian Busch.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, he said it adapted by placing hubs at various airports and storage buildings throughout Nunavik and in Val d’Or while the hub at La Grande remains out of commission.

But, “we anticipate likely resuming operations out of La Grande by Sunday if the situation remains stable and authorities maintain their position,” he said.

According to SOPFEU, Quebec’s forest fire control agency, there are no more out-of-control fires in the James Bay region where the La Grande hub is situated.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

Regarding possible further flight delays, Busch said Air Inuit remains ready to adapt its operations and intends to operate using strategies that are normally put in place during winter blizzard conditions.




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