Fuel shortage affects flights in some High Arctic communities

A Canadian North plane on the tarmac in Iqaluit. The airline says there may be some disruptions to some flights due to a fuel shortage in a few Nunavut communities. (David Gunn/CBC)

A shortage of fuel in some Nunavut communities is affecting flights in the High Arctic.

In a statement on Tuesday from Canadian North, the airline vice president Andrew Pope says both the Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord Airports issued a notice Monday that there was no jet fuel available.

That meant the company’s subcontractor, Kenn Borek Air, was unable to fuel its aircraft in Resolute Bay and the flight between Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord had to be cancelled.

Some fuel was secured in Resolute Bay for upcoming flights this week, and Pope said there will be make-up flights planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with a regularly scheduled flight on Thursday, which are all to operate as planned.

However, the lack of fuel in Resolute Bay also impacts operations in Iqaluit, Pope said. Both Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet have similar notices issued, Pope added.

At this point, he said no flights have been cancelled, but the number of passengers and amount of cargo will be limited. That includes fewer seats available for sale and possible delays to cargo shipments. In some cases, there have been added stops for refuelling.

The airline said it is “proactively taking steps to mitigate the impact of the disruptions” and that it is hopeful that fuel will be made available in the next few days.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian North’s direct flight between Iqaluit and Toronto ending after Labour Day, a month early, CBC News

Norway: Scandinavian airlines cancel thousands of flights and lay off most of their employees, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

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