Canadian North has provided an update that includes changes in their schedule due to decrease in passenger demand. The update was concerning the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the proactive actions their team is taking.
A press release sent out by Chris Avery, President and CEO of Canadian North noted that to ensure that they are using the people, aircraft and infrastructure as effectively as possible to serve customers while supporting the ongoing efforts of public health agencies to contain this outbreak, they will implement temporary schedule changes.
This schedule change will be effective as of Wednesday, March 18th:
- In light of the reduced passenger demand, they will shift priority to freight transportation to maintain current levels of capacity on all routes with the flexibility to increase if required. They will also prepare to prioritize freight service to communities without road connections if necessary.
- They will maintain minimum passenger service levels for every community within their network:
- For trunk routes which include Ottawa-Iqaluit, Edmonton-Yellowknife-Inuvik and Montreal-Kuujjuaq, this means reducing passenger service to one flight per day and removing passenger service on one to three days each week.
- For smaller community routes, this typically means reducing passenger service from daily to every-other day, except where demand is sufficient to warrant additional capacity.
- For the trans-territorial route between Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, this means reducing passenger service from four times weekly to two times weekly.
- Their team will engage with all levels of government, Inuit stakeholders and our customers to ensure that they understand their needs and priorities.
- This schedule change will be in effect for the next seven days; however, they expect to extend this timeline in the near future.
- Because this is an evolving situation, they expect that they will need to remain extremely flexible over the coming weeks and be prepared to make additional changes. They will continue to monitor our passenger and cargo loads and will make further adjustments as required, just as they normally do, albeit with heightened urgency.
Passengers who are booked to fly with Canadian North and are affected by this change have been automatically rebooked onto the next available flight and will be notified by email, phone or through their travel agent.
The changes in the schedule are largely due to the following factors and the accompanying unprecedented economic downturn that has emerged over the past several days:
- Federal, provincial and territorial governments have suspended all non-essential duty travel.
- Public health authorities are recommending for the public to also avoid all non-essential travel and maintain social distancing practices such as staying home and avoiding large groups.
- Numerous meetings, conferences and large events such as the Arctic Winter Games and the Nunavut Mining Symposium have been cancelled, with the expectation of more to follow.
- Some Northern communities (Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay, Coral Harbour and Igloolik) have requested that non-essential travel to their communities be halted because they have fewer healthcare resources available to them and are at higher risk due to lack of infrastructure and overcrowding in many households.
While there is no clear end in sight to these challenges, Canadian North states that they will continue to provide essential passenger and cargo services to the people, communities and organizations we serve, regardless of these circumstances.
“We are confident that the steps we are taking will ensure the viability of our business, for the benefit of everyone who depends on us. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.”