Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 23, 2016 - 2:30 pm

Canadian North scrambles to bring new combi jet to Iqaluit route

Airline's new, post-codeshare schedule to launch soon

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Canadian North is launching its new 737-300 combi jet service in its Ottawa-Iqaluit route Jan. 2, the airline said this week—two months earlier than planned. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CANADIAN NORTH)
Canadian North is launching its new 737-300 combi jet service in its Ottawa-Iqaluit route Jan. 2, the airline said this week—two months earlier than planned. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CANADIAN NORTH)

Canadian North plans to introduce a new combi jet service on its Ottawa-Iqaluit route in early January rather than its originally-planned launch in March 2017, the airline announced this week.

Earlier this month, Canadian North said its Boeing 737-200 would go into scheduled maintenance Dec. 13 until the end of February 2017, leaving its codeshare partner First Air to operate a single daily flight between Ottawa and Iqaluit over that two-month period.

But with news last week that First Air will terminate that codeshare agreement in May 2017, Canadian North says it’s stepping up its service.

“Beginning Monday, January 2, 2017, Canadian North will introduce daily, next generation 737-300 combi service on our Ottawa-Iqaluit route bringing an early end to the maintenance-related schedule change we announced earlier this month,” said the airline’s president, Steven Hankirk, in a Nov. 22 release.

The airline plans to use its first 737-300 combi on the that route until its second 737-300 combi is ready for service in March 2017, Hankirk said.

Now, Nunavut air passengers will still be down to one daily flight between Ottawa and Iqaluit for 11 days in December, when Canadian North pulls its Boeing on non-peak travel days between Dec. 13 and Dec. 31.

Canadian North is jockeying to reposition itself in the territory’s airline industry after First Air’s “sudden, unilateral decision to terminate the codeshare agreement,” as Hankirk described it last week.

Hankirk said the benefits of the codeshare have been “genuine and significant.”

“The cancellation of the codeshare agreement by First Air will require us to make changes to our schedule, but our dedication to competitive pricing and exceptional customer service will not change,” Hankirk said Nov. 22.

“…We are using this time to develop and implement a long-term plan to that will enable Canadian North to continue to offer competitive air service to all of our customers across the North, whether in the Qikiqtaaluk, the Kitikmeot or the Northwest Territories.”

The airline said it would launch its new schedule in the coming months.

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