Air Canada is set to suspend flights on January 23rd to Yellowknife and several more cities across the country amid a lack of demand for air travel in the pandemic.
All passenger operations to the Yellowknife Airport (YZF) will be suspended until further notice.
In an email sent out today, Air Canada notes that their overall network capacity is currently down about 80 percent from the last normal year which was 2019.
“Operating in this environment is not sustainable and we have made difficult decisions to suspend all passenger operations to Yellowknife airport until further notice.”
Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure says that the GNWT is obviously disappointed by the news shared by Air Canada, but understands that businesses must make decisions that they believe best fit with their business model and market conditions.
“According to Air Canada, the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their operations have been unprecedented and contributed to this difficult business decision. ”
She adds that as the main gateway airport for the NWT, YZF plays an integral role in keeping the north and residents connected while also supporting economic opportunities.
“Although there are other airlines still serving the North, this change will eliminate some of the options currently afforded to NWT residents when they choose to travel by air.
She says that NWT residents should take some comfort knowing that essential services provided by NWT airports will not be impacted by this change.
“This includes our ability to provide necessary medical travel services that NWT residents depend on to access care and services outside the territory.”