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Low-cost flights connect Nunavut to south
FlySarvaq to offer travel starting at $499 in May

Meagan Leonard
Northern News Services
Saturday, January 30, 2016

A new airline service will now connect Nunavut with central and eastern Canada - at half the price.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sarvaq president Adamee Itorcheak announces his company's partnership in FlySarvaq, a new commercial flight route to Ottawa and Halifax from Iqaluit. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

Operating from Iqaluit, FlySarvaq will begin offering direct flights to Ottawa and Halifax with the first flight scheduled to depart on May 6.

Flights will be offered twice weekly -- on Mondays and Fridays -- with introductory rates of $499 each way.

Schedules will be co-ordinated with communities on Baffin Island.

The announcement was made at the Northern Lights Trade Show in Ottawa Jan. 28 where FlySarvaq president Adamee Itorcheak emphasized the economic benefits and job opportunities the airline will bring to the territory.

"I founded Sarvaq in 2011 for one reason, I wanted to be able to create opportunities for Iqalungmiut and Nunavummiut, job opportunities and training opportunities, that would better all of our lives," Itorcheak said.

The low-cost flights are also anticipated to increase tourism and make Nunavut more accessible to the average Canadian, while giving Nunavummiut more options for vacations, business and medical travel, said Itorcheak.

"It is our hope that this service will create significant possibilities for Nunavummiut looking to travel south, as well as open up more opportunities for people to visit Nunavut," he said. "We will be able to get to Ottawa for a weekend of shopping, to visit friends and family or have access to medical appointments. Maritimers can come visit our Alianait festival in July, we can strengthen economic linkages between our cities and fishing trips can be further and more exotic."

Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern said this is great news for the capital.

"It's a significant savings for families and individuals to fly up and out of Iqaluit," she said. "Only one per cent of Canadians have gone North of 60. This will make it more accessible and our tourism industry will welcome an increase in visitations to our communities."

Economic Development and Transportation Minister Monica Ell-Kanayuk said she is excited to see more competition among airlines in the territory.

"I think this is good news for Nunavut, especially with the connection and recent (memorandum of understanding) Nunavut had with Newfoundland,"she said. "I just flew from Winnipeg to Ottawa and the cost was $800 and the time to travel there is one hour longer than from Iqaluit to Ottawa."

Flights will be operated by parent company Nolinor Aviation with three classes of fares available on its Boeing 737 aircraft. Flights will be available for booking online by March 1.

"It's been really hard not to smile ear to ear and try to keep everything under wraps," said Fly Sarvaq spokesperson Brian Tattuinee.

Previously Sarvaq had provided camp logistics for mining companies.

- with files from Casey Lessard

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