Tough times in the skies

Airlines have been struggling during the pandemic. (Supplied by Pexels.)
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The pandemic has had devastating impacts on a number of businesses.

Especially airlines, who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, leading to NWT flights being impacted.

Air Canada announced they are suspending flights on January 23 to Yellowknife.

Smaller airlines operating in the territory have also been struggling.

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One is Northwestern Airlines, whose owner Brian Harrold said is facing tough times, with planes flying with a handful of passengers for months.

“In April we had  flights that we’ve had this on and off for quite a while, you’ve got you fly an airplane to Edmonton, we took three people down, you know, two of them were doctors that were doing rotations, and one of them was a person going down for chemotherapy.”

Brian Harrold

While Harrold said he’s happy he can provide this services to essential workers during the pandemic, it doesn’t bring much financial reward.

“With five people on an airplane going from Fort Smith, Edmonton, you really don’t make an awful lot of money if it barely pays the gas, let alone anything else.”

Brian Harrold

Harrold said cutbacks to some routes have already had to be made.

“We’re gonna see that probably, again, as the second wave comes through, we’re looking at it now and where we’re trying to decide with Health and Social Services as to which routes do we keep going and stuff like that, because our passenger numbers are starting to drop off — and rightly so, people are really nervous about travelling.”

Brian Harrold

It remains to be see what those changes could mean for NWT residents.

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