New flight launches this weekend between Igloolik and Iqaluit

Check-in desk at the Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, airport for the Arctic Fresh Project pilot flight. Starting Saturday, the company will offer a new scheduled flight between Iqaluit and Igloolik, Nunavut. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)
Check-in desk at the Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, airport for the Arctic Fresh Project pilot flight. Starting Saturday, the company will offer a new scheduled flight between Iqaluit and Igloolik, Nunavut. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)

Nunavut residents will soon see a new scheduled flight between Iqaluit and Igloolik, Nunavut, on weekends.

Arctic Fresh Projects, based in Igloolik, is launching the flights as of Saturday.

Ryan Haggan, the company's director of sales and operations, said there currently aren't any flights between the two communities on Saturdays, so the company's goal was to fill that service gap.

"We have heard from our communities the need for additional support when it comes to flights. We understand that there was already a service provider and we looked if there were areas where AFP could provide that additional support," Haggan wrote in an email.

The company also plans to launch a flight from Iqaluit to Clyde River on Wednesdays, and the company will continue to operate its Iqaluit to Sanikiluaq return flights, but now just once weekly instead of twice. Those flights are set to run on Thursdays.

Haggan said the company is looking at providing additional flights to other communities in the future.

Arctic Fresh Projects, with Panorama Aviation based in Quebec, had previously won a pilot project to provide a twice weekly direct flight between Sanikiluaqthe territory's most southern community, and Iqaluit, in 2021. The Nunavut government subsidized up to six of the eight seats available on those flights.

In December, Arctic Fresh Projects announced over Facebook that the territory had cancelled that project.

This new initiative will now be "100 per cent" operated by Arctic Fresh Projects and Panorama Aviation, the company said in a Facebook post.

Meagan Deuling/CBC
Meagan Deuling/CBC

"We have been working with Panorama on aviation for a long time and are very excited for our future together," Haggan said.

There will be nine seats available on each flight to Igloolik, with tickets costing just about $800 before tax, one way.

Haggan couldn't say how much the initiative is costing Arctic Fresh Projects.

"It's hard to give you numbers as it's [a] moving initiative but it is a substantial commitment on our behalf," Haggan wrote.

Haggan said the aim is to increase the number of flights "as demand goes up"

"Our goal is to provide additional logistics support for our communities," he said.

Haggan gave no set timeline for how long the company will commit to operating these flights.

"At the moment we are committed to making this work, and we'll see what the future holds."