The airlines Canadian North and Air Greenland signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 9, 2020 in which they oblige to explore the possibility of a partnership between the two airlines for air services and sustainable tourism development between Greenland and Canada. This was reported last week by Canadian North in a press release.
The letter of intent was already signed in Ilulissat on January 27, 2020 by the Canadian CEO Johnny N. Adams, the Canadian North CEO Chris Avery, the Chairman of the Board of Air Greenland, Kjeld Zacho Jørgensen, and the CEO of Air Greenland, Jacob Nitter Sørensen.
In a video presentation at the Greenland Conference 2020, hosted by the Danish Industry Association in Denmark on December 9, 2020, the Canadian North Executive Chairman Johnny N. Adams informed about the impact of COVID-19 on planned next steps. “We were going to announce the Memorandum of Understanding in March 2020, but our two airlines have been busy transporting our customers safely during the following period to prevent the spread of COVID”.
“Now that a vaccine is available, it’s time to think about Ottawa-Iqaluit-Nuuk and Ottawa-Iqaluit-Ilulissat flights. We also want to connect Greenland directly with Southern Canada. Possibly during the tourist season from March to October already from Toronto”.
“In 2021 we will add two Boeing 737-700 aircraft to our fleet that could fly from Toronto directly to Nuuk or Ilulissat,” said Chris Avery, President and CEO of Canadian North. “Although we have not yet entered the planning phase for the provision of this link, the Memorandum of Understanding reflects our common goal of bridging the long distances between Canada and Greenland. Always, Inuit have crossed the Arctic to gather, hunt and trade. Direct flights between the two countries would revive this relationship, strengthen cultural ties and provide economic opportunities in tourism and trade”.
In summer 2012, Air Greenland started a 3 month flight connection between Iqaluit and Nuuk. From June to September there were flights to both cities twice a week. However, the flight connection was cancelled again due to insufficient interest and small number of passenger bookings.
A resumption of the flight connection was already an issue in October 2019. The Greenlandic Home Rule Government is refusing to resume flight connections with Nunavut yet. The Greenland Minister for Infrastructure, Karl Frederik Danielsen, said that the current priority of his government is the construction of a new airport and not an air link to Nunavut.
Avery is not discouraged despite the history. “I think this is the right time for that,” Avery said in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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