Nunavik airlines restart reservation and booking systems
But passengers will need authorization to travel
As of Monday, Aug. 31, the regular flight reservation and booking systems of Canadian North and Air Inuit in Nunavik are set to resume service.
“The resumption of the two airlines’ reservations and booking system on commercial flights shows that the gradual reopening of Nunavik is going very well despite the pandemic. We appreciate the great collaboration of our airlines in ensuring the safety of Nunavimmiut,” Minnie Grey, the Nunavik health board’s executive director, said in an Aug. 24 news release.
But the changes to Nunavik airline systems do not yet signal the resumption of Canadian North’s Iqaluit-Kuujjuaq-Montreal flights.
“We have no directives on changes or updates from Nunavut. All travel restrictions in place remain the same for the territory,” Kevin Kablutsiak, the senior director of marketing and communications at Canadian North, told Nunatsiaq News.
And if you plan to travel to Nunavik from Montreal, you still have to request an authorization through the Nunavik Travel Access Authorization program before you can fly.
That form will available online, the health board said.
You will have to present that document at the airport on the date of travel in order to board flights entering Nunavik.
You can also expect to see new preventive hygiene measures at airports to ensure the safety of travellers, the release said.
All passengers must wash or disinfect their hands, or both, in the boarding area, before boarding the aircraft.
And handmade masks and face coverings will no longer be allowed on board, the release said. Instead, only what’s called a “procedural mask” (blue with three-ply) will be authorized on board for all passengers aged 12 and over and must be worn throughout the flight. The two airlines will supply these masks at the gate.
“From the onset of the pandemic, Canadian North has collaborated with NRBHSS and KRG with the safety of all Nunavimmiut as our first priority.
“We are pleased to support the ongoing, essential transportation requirements of the Nunavik region by resuming our normal reservation channels while continuing to support ongoing health and safety protocols,” said Johnny Adams, executive chair for Canadian North, in the release.
Commercial air travel within Nunavik was halted at the end of March, as COVID-19-related restrictions went into place across the region and the country.
Following the region-wide lockdown on commercial air travel in mid-March, regional authorities opted to open up intercommunity travel among Nunavik’s 14 communities on June 18.
Since last month, Inuit travellers have been able to book flights between Kuujjuaq and Montreal, although all travellers have had to go into quarantine for a 14-day period before or after arriving in Nunavik, or a combination of both.
Some essential workers and transient workers can go to work when they arrive but must follow strict public health measures.
These workers are tested for COVID-19 before boarding flights for Nunavik.
In early July, a construction worker arrived in the Hudson Strait community of Salluit while infected with COVID-19. After that, in mid-July, pre-departure COVID-19 testing became mandatory for all Nunavik-bound construction workers. The testing is available at the Montreal airport.
The workers are tested once again seven days after arrival in Nunavik.
Nunavik declared 17 positive cases of COVID-19, in three communities, but all those individuals have recovered. There have been no deaths.