Nain flights start again, but poor weather lingers in other coastal communities

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Stranded passengers, fresh produce started travelling again Sunday

CBC News · Posted: Aug 12, 2019

Philip Earle, vice-president of Air Borealis, says the last time the airline’s schedule was uninterrupted by poor weather was May 15. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Planes are flying in and out of Nain again, but air travel to and from other coastal communities in Labrador is on hold because of lingering bad weather. 

Air Borealis operated six commercial flights, each with 19 passengers, on Sunday, says Phillip Earle, the company’s vice-president.

Cargo flights were successful, too, for the first time in over 10 days.

“We operated and flew fresh produce, milk and dairy products, into Nain and Natuashish [on Sunday] … so being able to get goods into the community was certainly important,” said Earle. 

While it’s good news for people who had been stranded waiting to get into or out of Nain, others remain in a holding pattern.

“In this case it was 10 days for Nain and Natuashish [delays] and now it’s continuing in Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet,” said Earle, adding it will likely be at least Wednesday before the weather improves at all for those communities. 

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The last time Air Borealis was able to operate a full schedule in and out of coastal communities was the week of May 15, according to Earle.

“Every week, we are losing one and two and three days.… It’s a frustration,” he said. 

The heavy fog lingered around Nain for 10 days. (Submitted by Jenny Oliver)

Earle said the airline does what it can, including having aircraft ready for when there is any type of break in the bad weather.

But it’s a troubling pattern, he said. 

“Whether it’s climate change or whether we are just having a rotten summer, who knows? But as the trend develops and we see more of it, then I’m sure we will be able to point the finger at the fact that this may be related to climate change,” Earle said.