Weather forces large Alaska-bound cargo plane to land in Whitehorse

From CBC News – link to source story

Airport staff accommodated the aircraft that had been traveling from Seoul

Luke Carroll · CBC News · December 27, 2021

Bad weather conditions forced a Western Global cargo airplane to land at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport on Dec. 26. (Submitted by Simon Blakesley.)

Whitehorse residents passing the airport on Boxing Day afternoon may have noticed a large and unusual visitor. 

This was a Western Global cargo aircraft that was forced to divert from its route to Alaska due to poor weather and land at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

Simon Blakesley is an aviation photographer who was about to go for his annual Boxing Day walk around 1 p.m., when he heard the aircraft would be arriving on a radio scanner. 

“I heard the Western Global call … on the airport tower frequency, which, Western Global? I don’t think they’ve ever come to Whitehorse before for any reason,” he said. “So that just made my ears prick, that ‘why would a Western Global freighter aircraft like that be talking to our control tower?’ “

Western Global Airlines is a Florida-based air cargo transportation service. 

Blakesley said once he realized the plane would be landing, he grabbed his camera gear — which he always keeps close — and headed straight to the airport. He said he missed the landing, but arrived in time to take some photos of the aircraft on the tarmac. 

“It is one of the biggest that I’ve seen here,” Blakesley said of the cargo plane. 

Nigel Cripps, the airport manager, said Nav Canada was notified of the arrival about 30 minutes before the aircraft landed. 

The cargo aircraft, known as McDonnell Douglas MD-11, was traveling from Seoul to Anchorage, Alaska. 

Cripps said bad weather around Alaska meant it needed a different place to land. 

As the aircraft was arriving internationally, Cripps notified border services. He said Air North ramp staff then assisted the arriving airplane with its landing.

Josh Clark is Air North’s director of charter, fixed base operations, and corporate. 

Clark said Air North has a fixed base operation at the Whitehorse airport that offers supports, including de-icing and refueling, to planes landing for whatever reason.

“They’re northern based, they’re highly trained,” he said. “Their key goal every day is to ensure safe and reliable operations… whether it’s a scheduled or unscheduled arrival. They marshal the aircraft in and make sure it’s on the ground safely and basically tuck it in.”

As Whitehorse is on a popular flight path, Cripps said these types of situations can happen every few years.   

“Generally as an airport, we’re well equipped to handle most situations,” he said. 

The international status of the airport has added benefits for pilots who find themselves in any sort of emergency situation in the North, as it has a large runway that can accommodate bigger aircraft — like the Western Global one. 

Cripps said the arrival did make for an eventful Boxing Day and credited everyone who helped with the situation, which included the airfield maintenance staff who braved blowing snow and cold temperatures. 

“I think all the people involved handled it really well,” he said. 

Cripps said the aircraft was still at the Whitehorse airport as of Monday morning, but he expects it will depart by the end of the day. 

Whitehorse airport’s secondary runway to get extended and upgraded

From CBC News – link to source story – Thanks to CW

Changes will allow large planes to land and take off when main runway is under maintenance

Mike Rudyk · CBC News · December 14, 2021

The secondary runway at Whitehorse’s Erik Nielson International Airport will be extended and receive some other upgrades next year. (Murray Lundberg)

The secondary runway at the Eric Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport will be extended and get some upgrades next year.

The improvements will allow the secondary runway to have large passenger planes use it when maintenance, such as paving, snow removal or de-icing, is being done on the main 2,900-metre runway “without interruption of service.”

The upgrades are scheduled to start in March 2022 and be completed by the following September, according to a government of Yukon news release. It also stated construction at the secondary runway will not cause delays for passengers at the airport.

The 1,620-metre runway is not “currently long enough or strong enough and it doesn’t have the proper lighting either [for the larger passenger planes],” said Clint Ireland, director of aviation land development with the Yukon government.

He said the runway, which was built in 1941 and is used mostly for small planes now, will be extended 390 metres and get new pavement, modern airfield lighting and a precision approach path indicator system.

Ireland said being able to get 737-size jets into Whitehorse, along with the types of services they can provide, including medical is “really important.”

“This runway will allow us to do that even if there is something going wrong on the main runway,” said Ireland. 

WestJet reconnecting Alberta routes

Airline to restart 10 routes across province and inaugurate new service from Edmonton to Penticton, Kamloops and Nanaimo

Non-stop service between Calgary-Charlottetown to launch on July 29

CALGARY, AB, June 25, 2021 /CNW/ -WestJet is further restoring Alberta’s domestic and interprovincial connectivity with the restart of 10 routes to and from destinations across British Columbia, the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia from Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat. The airline will also start operation of three new routes to and from Edmonton and begin non-stop service between Calgary and Charlottetown. Full schedule details and resumption dates are outlined below.

“We continue to work towards the restoration of our pre-COVID domestic network to ensure that when our guests are ready to travel, we are there for them,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “WestJet remains committed to building back stronger for the betterment of all Canadians, and as we look ahead to reconnecting friends, family and loved ones, the safe restart of travel is essential to Canada’s economic recovery.”

Connecting Alberta to Prince Edward Island non-stop

After being delayed due to the pandemic, WestJet will bridge new domestic connections between the east and the west with the introduction of new twice-weekly, non-stop service between Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Calgary, beginning July 29. The service connecting the two provinces was previously scheduled to start in June 2020.

WestJet’s investments are critical to ensuring Alberta’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and this July, WestJet will offer non-stop service from Calgary to 42 cities and from Edmonton to 16 cities. 

“This week’s meeting with more than 70 Northern Alberta industry partners demonstrates the value of listening to our partners as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic. We thank Premier Kenney and his government for leading the safe restart of travel for Albertans. While progress has been made in Alberta, we continue to advocate for a safe travel framework from the Government of Canada,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President.

Love Where You’re Going Again – WestJet’s Latest Video

For more than 17 months, Canadians from coast-to-coast have been separated from the people and places they love. WestJet’s latest brand moment is a reminder to Canadians that it’s time to love where they’re going, again.

Alberta route restarts between now and July 6, 2021

RoutePeak FrequencyRoute restart date
Edmonton – Nanaimo*2x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Regina 6x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Comox 5x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Calgary – Prince George4x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Calgary – London, Ont.4x weeklyJune 25, 2021
Edmonton – Winnipeg 6x weeklyJune 30, 2021
Calgary – Windsor2x weeklyJune 26, 2021
Calgary – Whitehorse2x weeklyJune 27, 2021
Calgary – Medicine Hat5x weeklyJune 27, 2021
Edmonton – Halifax 2x weeklyJuly 1, 2021
Edmonton – Penticton*2x weeklyJuly 3, 2021
Edmonton – Kamloops*2x weeklyJuly 4, 2021
Edmonton – Saskatoon 6x weeklyJuly 6, 2021
Calgary – Charlottetown *2x weeklyJuly 29, 2021
*New route

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

Federal government funding repairs to Whitehorse airport

From Yukon News – link to source story

An Air North flight sits on the apron at the Whitehorse airport. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

An Air North flight sits on the apron at the Whitehorse airport. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Upgrades are needed on the tarmac

HALEY RITCHIE | May. 26, 2021

The federal government is contributing $3.8 million toward upgrades at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

“This investment will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for Yukoners, many of whom depend on their air travel not only for personal travel, but also for access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres,” said Yukon MP Larry Bagnell in a statement.

The funding will allow for the rehabilitation of the taxiway, which is the path an aircraft uses in transit to the takeoff runway. The funds will also help with concrete apron paving, in order to refresh the area where airplanes are parked when not flying.

The project is one of 86 projects at 63 Canadian airports selected for funding in 2021.

Other projects include over $17 million dollars to rehabilitate a runway in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, more than $1.1 million in Manitoba to install wildlife control fencing and $58,000 for airfield drainage improvements at the Prince Albert Airport in Saskatchewan.

The funding is part of the Airports Capital Assistance Program, which recently received a top-up of funding and expansion of eligible airports for a two year time period.

The fund is meant to support airports with rehabilitating surfaces, improving lighting and electrical systems and purchasing snow and ice removal equipment.

“These investments will improve access to safe, reliable and efficient air transportation options, and will help us deliver our promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we reopen our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

In 2014 the Yukon Government awarded a $3.5 million contract to Norcope Enterprises in order to replace 250 concrete apron panels at the airport. A year later defects in the job prompted the government to launch a lawsuit seeking the cost of the work.

Norcope countered with a lawsuit of their own which blamed permafrost shifting for cracked pavement.

Air traffic control services to continue for Canadian communities

OTTAWA,ON, April 15, 2021 /CNW/ – NAV CANADA confirmed today that it will maintain air traffic control service to Canadian communities, including Fort McMurray AB, Prince George BC, Regina SK, Saint-Jean QC, Sault Ste. Marie ON, Whitehorse YT and Windsor ON.

Last fall, NAV CANADA launched 29 aeronautical studies in an effort to safely streamline its operations, ensuring that air navigation services align with market demand. After considerable consultation with airlines, airports, industry associations, local officials and internal stakeholders, NAV CANADA has elected to limit changes to services across the country. 

NAV CANADA is committing that there will be no site closures at air traffic control towers or flight service stations across the country. In addition, the Company will suspend aeronautical studies currently underway related to remote or northern locations until further notice.

“Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of NAV CANADA’s aeronautical study process. The valuable input we have received indicates that a balanced approach is warranted as the industry navigates the ongoing pandemic. We are proactively taking these steps to maintain a consistent level of service as the aviation industry and our many partners shift their focus to recovery,” said Ray Bohn, President and CEO.

The aeronautical studies, which are still in progress, will consider other alternatives to safely streamline operations, including changes to hours of operation. Aeronautical studies that were related to hours of operation from the outset or that are related to Remote Aerodrome Advisory Services will also continue, except for those pertaining to remote or northern locations.

To enhance stakeholder awareness and input, NAV CANADA will be undertaking a Notice of Proposal process that will afford stakeholders an additional opportunity to provide feedback on NAV CANADA’s specific recommendations.  

NAV CANADA remains unwavering in its commitment to safety, and any changes to the delivery of our services will be first and foremost evaluated in this context. The Company will continue to provide the air navigation services required to support industry today and throughout recovery.

Quick Facts

  • A private, non-profit corporation, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometers of Canadian domestic and oceanic airspace.
  • Under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act, NAV CANADA recovers its operating expense through service charges from its customers on a breakeven basis. Its customers include airlines, air cargo operators, air charter operators, air taxis, helicopter operators, and business and general aviation.
  • Aeronautical Studies consider all relevant factors, including traffic volume, mix and distribution throughout the day; weather; airport and airspace configuration; surface activity; and the efficiency requirements of operators using the service. Formal consultation with stakeholders is central to all Aeronautical Studies.
  • NAV CANADA’s safety record is irrefutably one of the best in the world amongst air navigation service providers. We have achieved this record based on a regulated decision-making approach with safety at the very core of all that we do.


NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1996, providing air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace.

The Company is internationally recognized for its safety record, and technology innovation. Air traffic management systems developed by NAV CANADA are used by air navigation service providers in countries worldwide.

Sault Airport one of seven under review by Nav Canada

From SooToday – link to source story

Study of air traffic service and aviation weather requirements expected to be presented to Transport Canada for safety review this spring

By: SooToday Staff | 23 Febrauary 2021

20200301-Sault Ste. Marie Airport, winter, stock-DT-01Sault Ste. Marie Airport file photo. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Nav Canada, the non-profit body that runs the country’s civil air navigation service, is currently reviewing seven airport towers in small Canadian cities, including Sault Ste. Marie.

Others under review are those located in St-Jean, Que.; Windsor, Ont.; Regina, Sask.; Fort McMurray, Alta.; Prince George, B.C.; and Whitehorse, Yukon.

At the heart of each review is whether air traffic at the airports warrants having a control tower as opposed to an advisory service for pilots, reports the Canadian Press.

In a Terms of Reference (TOR) issued in November of last year, Nav Canada explained that “the total annual aircraft movements have ranged from 55,225 to 65,228. These movements are either below or are at the lower levels of the established guidelines for the provision of Airport Control Services based on the Nav Canada Policy Delivery of Air Navigation Services.”

“We have to operate the right service, at the right place, at the right time,” Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada’s director of stakeholder and industry relations, told the Canadian Press. “The COVID-19 pandemic does give us additional stimulus because of the financial environment; however, the studies are warranted regardless of COVID-19.”   

The aeronautical study to review air traffic service and aviation weather requirements at the Sault Airport is expected to be presented to Transport Canada for safety review this spring.

“A strong system of airports is essential to supporting recovery from COVID-19 for our travel and tourism sector, as well as our trade-based regional and national economies,” Terry Bos, the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation’s president and CEO, said in a news release issued on Feb. 9. “Canada’s airports and our air sector partners want to play a leading role in this recovery but may not be able to effectively do so without intervention by government.”

Earlier this month, the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation reported record low passenger levels.

Passenger traffic dropped by more than 89 per cent in January from the previous year.

Also in January of this year, the airport announced a 41 per cent reduction in staff as flights were cut due to the ongoing pandemic.

Today, the Canadian Press reports that aviation is among the hardest hit industries as federal travel restrictions continue and public health officials discourage travelling.

NAV CANADA looks to streamline operations

OTTAWA, Nov. 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NAV CANADA continues to take steps to safely streamline its operations to help preserve the sustainability of the country’s air navigation system. The Company is moving forward with additional adjustments to its services and will be launching level of service reviews for six air traffic control towers. This includes completing a rigorous, safety-focused review of air traffic to determine whether airport advisory services should be offered in lieu of air traffic control.

NAV CANADA must continue to fulfill its commitment to efficiently run Canada’s air navigation system, ensuring that the services supplied align with market demands. The following sites were identified for review as a result of long-term air traffic levels, including prior to the pandemic:

  • Fort McMurray Tower, AB
  • Prince George Tower, BC  
  • Regina Tower, SK   
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tower, ON  
  • Whitehorse Tower, YT  
  • Windsor Tower, ON

Aeronautical studies apply a safety-focused and Transport Canada regulated process, which NAV CANADA has followed in support of its globally recognized safety record for more than 20 years. This rigorous, systematic approach provides for full consultation with all affected stakeholders, with the key factor being safety.

Quick Facts

  • A private, non-profit corporation, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometers of Canadian domestic and oceanic airspace.
  • Under the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act, NAV CANADA recovers its operating expense through service charges from its customers on a breakeven basis.
  • NAV CANADA’s provides services to airlines, air cargo operators, air charter operators, air taxis, helicopter operators, and business and general aviation.
  • Aeronautical studies consider all relevant factors, including traffic volume, mix and distribution throughout the day; weather; airport and airspace configuration; surface activity; and the efficiency requirements of operators using the service. Formal consultation with stakeholders is central to all aeronautical studies.
  • NAV CANADA’s safety record is irrefutably one of the best in the world amongst air navigation service providers. We have achieved this record based on a regulated decision-making approach with safety at the very core of all that we do.

Airlines Invent Wild New Ways to Make Money With Borders Closed

From BNN Bloomberg – link to story

Angus Whitley, Bloomberg News ~ 3 September 2020

A Qantas Boeing 787 on the tarmac at Sydney Airport, July 22.
A Qantas Boeing 787 on the tarmac at Sydney Airport, July 22. , Getty Images via Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — When it comes to raising money, nothing is off limits for airlines mired in their worst-ever crisis. From fresh vegetables to peanuts and pajamas, they’re selling almost anything to make it through the pandemic.

Even airlines that received government bailouts and slashed costs are looking for new revenue streams as they burn through cash while fleets are largely grounded and people stay at home. A recovery is expected to take years and cost carriers billions of dollars more.

Here’s a look at what airlines are pedaling as they try to make up for the hit from Covid-19:

Fly Over Antarctica

With its international fleet grounded until at least mid-2021, Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. is renting out one of its Boeing Co. Dreamliners for sightseeing trips over the southern ice cap.

Antarctica Flights is chartering the plane and crew from Qantas for seven trips between November and February. The flights last between 12 and 14 hours, and a business-class seat with full in-flight service costs A$7,999 ($5,850).

Pajamas and Almonds

Qantas also sold items typically given away to premium passengers, including 10,000 sets of pajamas that it said were snapped up in a matter of hours. The A$25 amenity packs usually doled out free to people in the front seats were available online and contained hand cream, tea bags, chocolate biscuits and smoked almonds, among other in-flight treats.

Qantas may also salvage something from its Boeing 747s, which were retired early due to the crisis. A spokesman said some of the cabin interiors, such as first-class tray tables, might be sold as memorabilia.

In-Flight Meals, at Home

Air North, the 43-year-old airline that connects Canada’s remote Yukon with hubs such as Vancouver, branched into home-delivered airline meals. Menu offerings include beef pot pie for C$9.00 ($6.88) and a selection of cheesecakes for C$13.99.

Customers can order as many as 20 of the pre-cooked, frozen meals at a time, to be dropped off by a driver the next business day. The meals are only available in neighborhoods in the northwestern city of Whitehorse and the delivery charge is C$10.

Flights to Nowhere

Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc. sold tickets for a charter flight to nowhere. About 300 passengers paid for a so-called Hawaiian resort experience on an Airbus SE A380 that typically flies the Tokyo-Honolulu route. The passengers were picked through a lottery.

Crew wore masks and Hawaiian shirts and served cocktails during the 90-minute trip.

Starlux Airlines introduced a “pretending to go abroad” flight piloted by its chairman on Aug. 7, and 188 tickets for the trip along Taiwan’s east coast were snapped up in 30 seconds, according to Focus Taiwan. Starlux did another flight for employees and paying customers on Aug. 16, also flown by its chairman. Tickets cost NT$4,221 ($144) each.

EVA Airways Corp. filled all 309 seats on a special Father’s Day flight on Aug. 8, Focus Taiwan said.

Renting Out Office Space

Air New Zealand Ltd. is considering sub-letting some of its headquarters in Auckland as part of a review of costs. Local media said as much as a quarter of the company’s six-story office, or 5,000 square meters of floor space, is up for grabs. A spokesperson for the airline declined to comment further.

Fruit & Veg Delivery

Low-cost travel pioneer AirAsia Group Bhd., which posted a record loss last month, started an platform selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

AirAsia’s Ourfarm e-commerce venture aims to tap the airline’s cargo, logistics and payment capabilities to connect Malaysian farmers directly with hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. The site sells everything from potatoes and pak choi to pineapples and chicken.

All-You-Can-Fly Deals

Faced with a slump in demand, airlines in China started offering unlimited flight packages to lure customers back onto domestic routes.

Among them, China Eastern Airlines Corp., one of the nation’s “Big 3” carriers, in June advertised unlimited weekend flights for the rest of the year for a single fee of 3,322 yuan ($487). More than 150,000 people used the pass over just two weekends, the airline said. On some flights, they accounted for more than 90% of the passengers.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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.