Self-isolation rules still apply to N.W.T, Nunavut residents travelling by air to Yukon

News from CBC News – link to story

Self-isolation is only waived for those that can come straight to Yukon through B.C.

Anna Desmarais · CBC News · Posted: Jul 02, 2020

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference regarding the start of the territory’s Phase 2 recovery plan on July 1. (Government of Yukon)

Northerners travelling to Yukon via southern airports outside of British Columbia will still have to self-isolate upon arrival, according to Yukon Premier Sandy Silver.  

On July 1, premier Silver extended the Yukon-B.C. travel bubble to include those from the N.W.T and Nunavut — only if they travel from their territory to Yukon or through British Columbia. 

Data from Google Flights shows that all Air Canada flights from Yellowknife to Whitehorse will have layovers either in Edmonton or Calgary, Alta., on route to Vancouver. Flights from Iqaluit to Whitehorse often travel through Ottawa or Winnipeg to get to the territory. 

In those cases, Premier Silver said northern residents arriving by air with layovers in provinces like Ontario and Alberta will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. 

‘Making our decisions … not just on geography’

“We’re making our decisions not necessarily just on geography or ease of getting here but also epidemiology,” Silver told reporters.

“At this time, we … are opening ourselves as well, knowing full well that it’s pretty hard for someone to come directly from Nunavut into Yukon.”

The N.W.T announced a new travel bubble with Nunavut on June 12 as part of its Phase 2 reopening plans. The move struck down the self-isolation requirement for people travelling between the territories.

Yukon was initially excluded from the travel bubble because of its plans to loosen self-isolation requirements with British Columbia. 

N.W.T. residents are still required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return from Yukon. 

Premier recommends reserving charters 

Silver said the travel bubble would directly benefit residents of Fort McPherson, N.W.T. — the closest community to Yukon along the Dempster Highway.

Residents of Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik, and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., are also able to drive directly into Yukon via the Dempster.

Communities in the Dehcho, including Fort Liard, Nahanni Butte and Fort Simpson, N.W.T., would also be able to travel into Yukon through British Columbia without having to self-isolate. People looking to drive into B.C. through the N.W.T.’s Highway 7 will have to make an appointment to cross the border either on a Tuesday or Friday. 

But, Silver continued, travel to Yukon from other parts of the territories “isn’t impossible.” He recommended that people consider chartering flights if necessary, but reinforced the message that travel should still be limited into the territory. 

“You could charter from Inuvik or smaller communities and you’d be allowed to if you could come in,” Silver said. 

Anyone travelling to Yukon is asked to go to to figure out if they meet the self-isolation requirements. 

No direct flights to Whitehorse until mid-August

Air North, Yukon’s main commercial airline, wrote on its website that its Whitehorse-Yellowknife-Ottawa route will be starting up again on Aug. 15. Once that flight is available, northerners could fly from Yellowknife to Whitehorse without having to self-isolate. 

Kelly Lewis, a spokesperson for Canadian North, said in a statement that the N.W.T.’s main commercial airline will not be adding any direct flights between Yellowknife and Whitehorse during the northern travel bubble, because Yukon’s capital city is not in their purview. 

Canadian North is, however, adding a new flight from Yellowknife to the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut that will help residents travel between the N.W.T and Nunavut, Lewis said. The popular Yellowknife-Rankin Inlet route will not be reinstated in the meantime based on recommendations from the Nunavut government — but Lewis said they’re looking into it. 

“We understand that this is a routing that some people would like to see return so we will look at options to do so when the time is right,” the statement reads. 

‘Not entirely a bubble’ 

Julian MacLean, a dietitian living in Inuvik, will be one of the first people taking advantage of the new northern travel bubble this weekend. 

MacLean said he’s making the time to do the hours-long, 1,200-kilometre drive down the Dempster Highway to Whitehorse to do some vehicle maintenance and grocery shopping before a possible second COVID-19 wave.

“Restrictions will probably get tighter again, so if I don’t go now, I probably wont be able to go later,” MacLean told CBC. 

Maclean said his employer is letting him take the self-isolation time in the N.W.T. upon arrival as leave — but for many others, the N.W.T.’s self-isolation requirements upon return make travel less appealing.

Few flights and high prices burst northern travel bubble for some

From CBC News – link to story

Canadian North is running 50% of the flights it used to, with 10% of the passengers

CBC News · Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Rachel Marin isn’t sure she can travel to her home town of Ranklin Inlet, Nunavut, given the change in flight routes that will make it a costly trip. (submitted by Rachel Marin)

When Rachel Marin heard about the N.W.T.-Nunavut travel bubble, she thought her summer was saved. Though she’s lived in Yellowknife since 2001, she loves returning to her home town, Rankin Inlet. 

“I was like, ‘Wow this is so awesome!'” she said. “It’s pretty neat to have this [COVID-19-]free zone that you can travel in.” 

The mood shifted when she found out that the only airline with scheduled flights between the two territories is still running far fewer flights, at higher costs to customers. 

The airline has cancelled direct flights between Yellowknife to Rankin Inlet to Iqaluit. Passengers from Yellowknife now have to overnight in Cambridge Bay, then take a second flight that goes to Rankin Inlet and on to Iqaluit. A one-night stay in a hotel in Cambridge Bay costs about $250. 

“You know what?” Marin said. “I can’t really do that.” 

Inukshuk Aksalnik, who lives in Nunavut, looked into making the trip from Iqaluit to Yellowknife. She stopped when she found out the cost. 

“I’ll wait for the airline to reintroduce the Iqaluit-Rankin-Yellowknife flight and hope it doesn’t cost $9,000 for a family of three,” Aksalnik said. 

90 per cent drop in business

Andrew Pope, vice-president with Canadian North, said although the travel bubble came as “encouraging and welcoming news for our business,” the company has a long way to go before it’s back to business as usual. 

The airline has seen an 80 to 90 per cent drop in passengers since the onset of the pandemic, he said. It’s now offering about 50 per cent of the flights they had before. 

And even that leaves planes a lot emptier than they used to be, Pope said.

As for prices, Pope said they haven’t raised any, but in some cases, new routing has almost doubled the fare. 

The federal and territorial governments have given the newly merged airline millions of dollars to stay afloat through the crisis. 

In May, Canadian North got over $5 million in federal pandemic relief funds filtered through the N.W.T. government. Nunavut has offered federal pandemic bailout money along with payments to make up for what the government would normally pay for medical and government travel.

Pope said his company has been working closely with the territorial governments to maintain an essential level of service. He said that’s how they arrived at the revised routing of Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay to Iqaluit. 

However, he also said new flights and routes would be considered as demand returns. 

And while the company is grateful for the support it’s receive so far, he said the airline will need even more. 

“Even with some of the gains that we have seen in the last month, it still does look like a very long road to recovery.”

For Marin, who hopes to make her trip in August or September, she plans to wait and see what the options are before she books anything.   

She said a Canadian North travel agent she spoke to said the airline is now making plans “month by month.” 

“At one point we were day by day, week by week, now we’re month by month, which is pretty good,” said Marin. “Maybe soon we’ll be open and go wherever we please.”

Written by Sara Minogue, with files from Kate Kyle

WestJet releases July schedule to get Canadians exploring again

From WestJet, an Alberta Partnership

Airline continues to focus on significant safety and hygiene enhancements to ensure a safe travel journey

CALGARY, AB, June 15, 2020 /CNW/ – WestJet today released its updated July schedule, developed to allow Canadians the pleasure of summer travel while economically supporting communities across the country in safely reopening travel and domestic tourism. In addition, the airline has added flights to select U.S. markets.

To ensure guests can book with confidence, the airline maintains its stringent Safety Above All hygiene program and continues to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies.

“Today’s schedule reflects our commitment to orderly and safe travel while providing steps to allow Canadians to get out, explore, and take part in critical economic activities like staying in hotels, eating out, visiting tourist attractions or simply just travelling to see friends and family,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Governments and Canadians from coast-to-coast are working together to lessen the impact of this pandemic and we are grateful that these efforts have put us in a position to add more options for travel this July.”

From July 5 through August 4, 2020, WestJet will offer operations to 45 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S. and one in Mexico an increase of approximately 102 per cent more flights from June, but down 76 per cent from July 2019.

Continued von zur Muehlen, “As we emerge from the pandemic, health vigilance must be balanced with the gradual reopening of our economy. WestJet has done our part and spent millions of dollars to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and our people. We’re ready to get Canadians flying.”

On March 22, WestJet suspended its international and transborder operations. The airline’s schedule now contains flights to key transborder and international destinations including Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta (ATL) and Las Vegas (LAS).

“Jurisdictions around the world are opening, allowing citizens to begin flying once again which is kickstarting their economies for recovery. We’ve heard from the communities we serve and look forward to having Canadians safely participate and stimulate domestic tourism this summer,” stated von zur Muehlen.

At this time, the airline is planning on operating the following domestic routes and frequencies from July 5 – August 4.

Continue reading

Return to sender: passengers sent back after arriving at Yellowknife Airport

News from CBC News – link to story

There have been two instances in the past two weeks of people arriving who weren’t supposed to

John Van Dusen · CBC News · Posted: May 25, 2020

There have been a couple of instances in recent weeks of people who had to be turned away from the territory, says Ian Legaree, an official with the territory’s Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. (John Van Dusen / CBC)

Despite strict protocols around who is allowed into the Northwest Territories, there have been two recent instances of people arriving at the Yellowknife Airport who weren’t supposed to.

An official with the territory’s Municipal and Community Affairs Department said in the past two weeks, there were a couple of separate cases of people getting off an airplane in Yellowknife only to have to turn around the following day.

“We take care of them and we put them up and we make sure we make all the arrangements to send them back to where they need to go,” said Ian Legaree, the operations section chief for North Slave with the territory’s Municipal and Community Affairs Department.

“I’m sure they’re disappointed they can’t come to Yellowknife and visit but that’s just the rules we’re living under.”

The N.W.T. has virtually banned all non-essential travel into the territory. Residents are allowed to return and essential workers are allowed to enter, but visitors from out of territory are restricted. 

“Occasionally someone simply wasn’t aware. They assume they can travel. Like in normal times, you can travel anywhere in Canada you like. But occasionally some people just don’t get the word and we have to deal with it here,” Legaree said.

It’s unclear where the people were coming from or the reasons why they were rejected. He said the territory pays for their stay in the hotel in order to monitor where they are.

It has been more than one month since the N.W.T. has had an active case of COVID-19. The territory’s chief public health officer has said the highest risk right now is on the border and that restrictions would remain in place until a vaccine is available.

Even the stuffed polar bear and the seal inside the arrival area of the Yellowknife Airport are wearing personal protective equipment. (John Van Dusen / CBC)

Arrivals into Yellowknife down ‘significantly’

From March 27 to May 19, there were 1,087 arrivals at the Yellowknife Airport. It’s down “significantly” said Legaree.

When passengers enter the arrivals area, they snake their way through a cordoned off line keeping two metres apart. 

They’re then asked a series of questions by staff about who they are and why they’re here.

Anne-Elizabeth Fauvel and her son, Ewen Fauvel-Burns, returned to the city Friday after spending the last few months visiting family in France.

It took them three days before they arrived back home, flying from Paris to Montreal then onto Toronto and Calgary before arriving in Yellowknife.

“The whole planning on the trip was extremely difficult because I had different answers from different places,” Fauvel said.

She said the trip itself went well. There were no lineups and the planes were almost empty.

She and her son will spend the next 14 days self-isolating at home. 

“I don’t mind at all, we’re pretty jet lagged right now,” she said.

Anne-Elizabeth Fauvel and her son, Ewen Fauvel-Burns, spent three days travelling home to Yellowknife from France where they were visiting family. (John Van Dusen / CBC)

She said the arrival process was pretty simple and a good way to screen people. 

“I think it’s a good idea to take precautions in Yellowknife because it is a small place and some people commute to northern communities and they don’t want to bring the virus there.”

WestJet Update: 10 May • Schedule to 4 July 2020

From Westjet – 10 May 2020


WestJet has updated its schedule from June 5 through to July 4, 2020 to address significantly reduced guest demand for air travel while continuing to keep critical economic lifelines open for essential travel and cargo. At this time, WestJet is also extending its temporary transborder and international route suspensions through June 25, 2020. Guests with travel booked after June 5 through July 4, will be proactively notified of their options. Full schedule details are available on

It is through the hard work and dedication of teams across WestJet that we continue to provide safe, on-time air travel throughout Canada. We thank all WestJetters and our airport partners for their support during this time. For information on WestJet’s COVID-19 response including health, safety and cleaning protocols, visit the WestJet COVID-19 site here

Domestic route suspensions from June 5 through July 4, 2020 

Market Previous frequency 
Vancouver – Nanaimo 2x daily 
Vancouver – Comox 1x daily 
Vancouver – Regina 4x weekly 
Vancouver – Saskatoon 1x daily 
Vancouver – Winnipeg 3x daily 
Vancouver – Fort St. John 1x daily 
Vancouver – Cranbrook 1x daily 
Vancouver – Ottawa 2x daily 
Vancouver – Montreal 6 to 13x weekly 
Vancouver – Halifax 6x weekly 
Kelowna – Victoria 12x weekly 
Calgary – Prince George 1x daily 
Calgary – Ottawa 2x daily 
Calgary – Montreal 2x daily 
Calgary – London, ON 1 to 2x daily 
Calgary – Halifax 3x daily 
Calgary – St. John’s 1x daily 
Edmonton – Comox 8x weekly 
Edmonton – Victoria 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Kelowna 7x daily 
Edmonton – Grande Prairie 13x weekly 
Edmonton – Yellowknife 1x daily 
Edmonton – Saskatoon 3x daily 
Edmonton – Regina 3x daily 
Edmonton – Winnipeg 20x weekly 
Edmonton – Ottawa 4x weekly 
Edmonton – Montreal 3x weekly 
Edmonton – Halifax 10x weekly 
Edmonton – St. John’s 4x weekly 
Winnipeg – Ottawa 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Regina 1x daily 
Winnipeg – Halifax 1x daily 
Toronto – Victoria 4x weekly 
Toronto – Regina 10x weekly 
Toronto – Saskatoon 12x weekly 
Halifax – Montreal 2x daily 

The following domestic markets will have a new seasonal start date: 

Market New start date 
Calgary – Quebec City 6-Jul-20 
Calgary – Charlottetown 5-Jul-20 
Winnipeg – Montreal 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Kelowna 5-Jul-20 
Toronto – Sydney, NS 5-Jul-20 


While we may be physically distancing, we know moms will still be feeling the love today. Over the last three weeks, WestJet Cargo has helped deliver 15 tonnes of flowers across Canada — just in time for Mother’s Day.

Plane from Yellowknife slides off runway in Kugaaruk and into snowbank

News from CBC News – link to story and updates

No passengers on board Buffalo Airways plane, crew members safe

Beth Brown · CBC News · Posted: Apr 28, 2020

A Buffalo Airways plane sits in a snowbank at the runway in Kugaaruk, Nunavut, on Tuesday. The plane landed around 1 p.m. MT. All crew members on board are safe and there were no passengers. (Submitted by Barnaby Immingark)

A King Air plane operated by Buffalo Airways slid off the runway in Kugaaruk, Nunavut, on Tuesday, during low visibility weather.  

The plane landed around 1 p.m. MT., according to a resident. All crew members on board are safe and there were no passengers, according to Buffalo Airways.

In a news release, Buffalo Airways said the aircraft “slid off the side of the runway and into a snowbank” on Tuesday afternoon.

NAV Canada reporting shows winds were around 50 km/h and snow was blowing moderately at the time. 

The Transportation Safety Board has been notified as part of the company’s emergency response plan, the release said. 

The aircraft was en route from Yellowknife, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

With files from Salome Avva

WestJet: 29 March Update

Received directly from WESTJET

NETWORK AND SCHEDULE CHANGES – WestJet announces schedule updates through May 4 and select seasonal route start dates

On Thursday, March 26 WestJet marked the last day of our planned transborder (U.S.) and international (Europe, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean) flying due to the COVID-19 crisis and the closing of international borders.

This is a difficult time as we temporarily say goodbye to these airports that have helped WestJet grow beyond our domestic borders and brought the pleasure and ease of worldwide travel to millions of Canadians.

We thank all of our airport partners, our contractors and our guests for their support and we look forward to resuming flights when we emerge from these turbulent times.


As the crisis continues, we have now updated our international and transborder schedule to temporarily remove flying through May 4, 2020. For our guests who have booked their travel after April 22 through May 4, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.

Seasonal international route starts dates have been updated as follows:

  • Toronto – Barcelona starts June 5, 2020
  • Calgary – Rome starts June 4, 2020
  • Halifax – Manchester has been cancelled for summer 2020. WestJet will be reaccomodating guests on Halifax – London (Gatwick)


Our domestic schedule has also now been updated through May 4. Details remain the same as communicated earlier this week (see schedule below) with the exception of Grande Prairie. Due to newly reduced airport operating hours, we have reduced the daily Calgary – Grand Prairie schedule by two flights. WestJet will continue to fly once daily. In addition, Edmonton – Grande Prairie has been suspended until further notice.

Select seasonal domestic routes will start July 3, 2020 including:

  • Calgary – Whitehorse
  • Calgary – Dawson Creek
  • Calgary – Windsor
  • Toronto – Deer Lake
  • Halifax – Gander

For our guests who have booked their travel prior to July 3, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.

We understand the uncertainty our guests, WestJetters and partners face, and we thank them for their continued patience.

WestJet domestic schedule March 22 – May 4, 2020:


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Calgary-Abbotsford3x daily
Calgary-Comox2x daily
Calgary-Cranbrook2x daily
Calgary-Fort St. John2x daily
Calgary-Kamloops1x daily
Calgary-Kelowna4x daily
Calgary-Nanaimo1x daily
Calgary-Penticton1x daily
Calgary-Prince George1x daily
Calgary-Vancouver6x daily
Calgary-Victoria2x daily
Calgary-Edmonton6x daily
Calgary-Fort McMurray3x daily
Calgary-Grande Prairie1x daily (UPDATED)
Calgary-Lethbridge2x daily
Calgary-Lloydminster6x weekly
Calgary-Medicine Hat2x daily
Calgary-Yellowknife1x daily
Calgary-Brandon1x daily
Calgary-Regina4x daily
Calgary-Saskatoon4x daily
Calgary-Winnipeg4x daily
Calgary-Hamilton4x weekly
Calgary-Kitchener/Waterloo3x weekly
Calgary-Ottawa4x weekly
Calgary-Toronto5x daily
Calgary-Montreal3x weekly
Calgary-Halifax4x weekly
Edmonton-Kelowna1x daily
Edmonton-Vancouver2x daily
Edmonton-Calgary6x daily
Edmonton-Fort McMurray2x daily
Edmonton-Grande PrairieTemporarily postponed
Edmonton-Regina4x weekly
Edmonton-Saskatoon3x weekly
Edmonton-Winnipeg1x daily
Edmonton-Toronto1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Abbotsford-Calgary3x daily
Comox-Calgary2x daily
Cranbrook-Calgary2x daily
Fort St John-Vancouver1x daily
Fort St John-Calgary2x daily
Kamloops-Calgary1x daily
Kelowna-Vancouver3x daily
Kelowna-Calgary4x daily
Kelowna-Edmonton1x daily
Nanaimo-Calgary1x daily
Penticton-Calgary1x daily
Prince George-Vancouver3x daily
Prince George-Calgary1x daily
Terrace-Vancouver2x daily
Vancouver-Fort St John1x daily
Vancouver-Kelowna3x daily
Vancouver-Prince George3x daily
Vancouver-Terrace2x daily
Vancouver-Victoria2x daily
Vancouver-Calgary6x daily
Vancouver-Edmonton2x daily
Vancouver-Toronto3x daily
Victoria-Vancouver2x daily
Victoria-Calgary2x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Hamilton-Calgary4x weekly
Kitchener/Waterloo-Calgary3x weekly
London, ON-Toronto1x daily
Ottawa-Calgary4x weekly
Ottawa-Toronto5x daily
Ottawa-Halifax1x weekly
Thunder Bay-Winnipeg1x daily
Thunder Bay-Toronto1x daily
Toronto-Vancouver3x daily
Toronto-Calgary5x daily
Toronto-Edmonton1x daily
Toronto-Winnipeg3x daily
Toronto-London, ON1x daily
Toronto-Ottawa5x daily
Toronto-Thunder Bay1x daily
Toronto-Montreal5x daily
Toronto-Quebec City1x daily
Toronto-Charlottetown3x weekly
Toronto-Fredericton1x daily
Toronto-Halifax4x daily
Toronto-Moncton1x daily
Toronto-St. John’s1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Regina-Calgary4x daily
Regina-Edmonton4x daily
Saskatoon-Calgary4x daily
Saskatoon-Edmonton3x weekly
Saskatoon-Winnipeg1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Brandon-Calgary1x daily
Winnipeg-Calgary4x daily
Winnipeg-Edmonton1x daily
Winnipeg-Saskatoon1x daily
Winnipeg-Thunder Bay1x daily
Winnipeg-Toronto3x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Montreal-Calgary3x weekly
Montreal-Toronto5x daily
Montreal-Halifax1x weekly
Quebec City-Toronto1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Fredericton-Toronto1x daily
Moncton-Toronto1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Halifax-Calgary4x weekly
Halifax-Ottawa1x weekly
Halifax-Toronto4x daily
Halifax-Montreal1x weekly
Halifax-St. John’s (Nfld.)2x daily
Halifax-Sydney1x daily
Sydney-Halifax1x daily


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
Charlottetown-Toronto3x weekly


Domestic RoutePlanned Operations
St. John’s (Nfld.)-Toronto1x daily
St. John’s (Nfld.)-Halifax2x daily

The following links may also be helpful:

Summit Air to lay off 45 employees as a result of COVID-19 slowdown

News provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

Affected employees are located in Yellowknife, Edmonton and Calgary

CBC News · Posted: Mar 27, 2020

A Twin Otter operated by Summit Air. The Yellowknife-based airline announced Friday that it will lay off 45 of its approximately 170 employees due to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. (Summit Air)

Yellowknife-headquartered airline Summit Air has announced it will be laying off over a quarter of its workforce due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release Friday, the airline announced that 45 of its 170 employees will be leaving on “temporary involuntary leaves.” The layoffs impact all aspects of the business, including management, flight crews, administration, and mechanics.

The affected employees are located in Yellowknife, Edmonton and Calgary, the company said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the temporary closure or reduced operation of many of our customers’ businesses and operations, resulting in significant reductions in Summit Air’s revenue and flying hours,” Chief operating officer Lane Zirnhelt said in the release. 

“To preserve our business for the future we made the difficult decision to cut operating costs in the short term.”

The release notes that operations of Summit Air’s sister company, Summit Helicopters, are not impacted by the announcement.

Summit Air is the second northern airline to announce major layoffs in the last two days, with Whitehorse-based Air North announcing Thursday that it would lay off more than half its employees.

Last week, Yellowknife-based Air Tindi announced it would lay off approximately 45 of its employees.

In the release, Zirnhelt noted that the company’s business model remains strong, and that Summit Air hopes “to be fully operational again once our clients resume their work.”