New Iqaluit to Montreal flight to take off this summer

A Chrono Aviation plane takes off from Iqaluit.  (David Gunn/CBC  - image credit)
A Chrono Aviation plane takes off from Iqaluit. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)

A new commercial flight option is coming to Iqaluit.

Chrono Aviation will begin offering direct flights between Iqaluit and Montreal this summer, four times a week.

Tickets will begin selling on May 17 and the first flight for the new route is scheduled to start on Aug. 6.

Dany Gagnon, vice president of Chrono Aviation, said the flight is possible because of an existing charter with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.

He said the company is upgrading its fleet and the larger plane means more space for commercial passengers.

"So it's not like we're creating a route that can be at risk of not working — it's a route that's gonna be there as long as we have the contract with the mining companies," he said.

"And we intend to do that for as long as we live."

Gagnon said the route will fly four times a week between Iqaluit and the Montreal Metropolitan Airport on Montreal's south shore.

Tickets are $699 one way and include taxes, carry-on baggage and a meal. The flight takes just under three hours.

Right now, Canadian North flights from Montreal to Iqaluit in August cost about $1,600 one way.

Gagnon said because of Chrono Aviation's deal with the mine, they plan to keep the price fixed throughout the year.

Previous airlines with service to Iqaluit have blamed competitors for pricing them out of the flight route. Gagnon said that's not something he's afraid of.

"We're aware it's been done before and, I mean, it will be stupid for anyone to try that with the situation I'm explaining here, because our flight is paid for," he said.

"If anyone tried to kill us by selling tickets at $100, they won't survive and we will because we're a charter company, so my flight is paid for. So it will be a stupid war."

Gagnon said the company planned to make the announcement at the Nunavut Mining Symposium next week, but an ad that it had planned to put in a magazine was released on Friday accidentally.

"We're getting calls since an hour nonstop from everywhere," he said.

Tourism operator pleased 

Graham Dickson, president of Arctic Kingdom tourism agency, said the new route is good news for both residents and visitors.

"The more places that are connected, the greater the options for different types of travel," he said. "That's everything from government to business to tourism."

He said he doesn't expect to see an influx of visitors right away, but hopes the increase will come over time as more people become aware of the new option.

Dickson pointed out that the flight flying in and out of the Montreal Metropolitan Airport could create a challenge for anyone connecting in and out of Montreal if they're flying out of the larger Pierre Elliott Trudeau or Mirabel airports.

"The only sort of challenge, I suppose, is trying to check bags and whether or not the flight is part of any other network with other carriers," he said. "But given it's the only one routing to Montreal, that's probably not a big inconvenience."

Gagnon also said they would offer a shuttle service between the Montreal Metropolitan Airport to Dorval.

Canadian North could not immediately be reached for comment.