Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Photo Submitted

And they’re on their way! Flight 4N823, the first-ever scheduled flight between Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Toronto, took off off Tuesday. This is a file photo from Air North. Photo by SIMON BLAKESLEY/AIR NORTH

Inaugural Whitehorse-Yellowknife-Toronto flight takes off

Air North’s first Toronto-bound flight took off just after 8 a.m. today with Joe Sparling, the airline’s president and CEO, at the controls.

By Whitehorse Star on May 10, 2022

Revised - Air North’s first Toronto-bound flight took off just after 8 a.m. Tuesday with Joe Sparling, the airline’s president and CEO, at the controls.

It arrived in Toronto last night after a brief stop in Yellowknife, marking the launch of the first-ever scheduled service between these capital cities.

“This route, as well as the other gateway destinations we serve, offer Yukoners seamless and affordable access to the rest of Canada and the world,” said Sparling.

“These flights keep families connected, open doors to educational and sports opportunities for our youth, make tourism and cultural experiences available to many more Canadians, and serve as an invaluable economic link.”

In the North, it’s clearly understood how vital connection is personally, economically and culturally, Sparling added.

The twice-weekly seasonal service to Toronto will operate until early October.

“Scale is redefined when moose outnumber people; there’s 0.09 Yukoners  per square kilometre and the closest provincial capital is 1,500 kilometres away,” Air North said.

“It takes an airline with its roots in the territories, one that pulses with the resolve of those who live North of 60, to take on a route like this.”

“The Vuntut Gwitchin made a decision just over 20 years ago to invest in Air North,” said Greg Charlie, a Vuntut Gwitchin member and member of Air North’s board of directors.

“Our home is the Yukon’s sole community that’s accessible only by air. Securing reliable and affordable transportation was necessary for our community and to provide opportunities for our youth.”

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow owns 49 per cent of Air North.

“As the Yukon’s only community accessible exclusively by air, this route will be a necessary means for economic growth, and an important cultural and personal link,” the airline said.

“As Canadians seek to better understand each other, the flight unlocks unprecedented opportunities for more people than ever before to explore both territories and immerse themselves in the cultures of Indigenous peoples who call the Yukon and Northwest Territories home.”

More than 1,500 Yukoners also invested in Air North, which gives the company a mandate based around Yukoners’ needs.

“As northerners, we know importance of resilience, self-determination and charting our own course to secure our future,’ said Sparling.

“Air North’s intention with this service is based on that, just as it has been with our other routes and our partnerships.

“We’re here to provide the best service for Yukoners, to connect the territory and our friends and partners in the Northwest Territories with southern destinations, to create economic opportunities.

“We’re proud to know that we’re helping make the North a better place to live and work.”

To mark what’s being called “a milestone occasion” for Canadian aviation, passengers were met by a special event at Toronto Pearson International Airport, celebrating its cultural and economic significance.

Aboard the inaugural flight were Yukon MP Brendan Hanley, Premier Sandy Silver, Ranj Pillai, the minister of Economic Development and Tourism and Culture, Doris Bill, the chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Coun. Bonnee Bingham.

Attendees at the Pearson airport event were treated to a special performance from the Teechik Dancers, a Vuntut Gwitchin group from Old Crow.

“By providing direct flights between Whitehorse and Toronto, we are in turn connecting Yukon businesses to the country’s biggest economic hub and creating a pathway for people around the world to visit our territory,” Pillai said.

“We are thrilled Air North, Yukon’s Airline, is able to offer this new service, and I look forward to welcoming more visitors to the Yukon and sharing the economic benefits that come with this additional air access.”

Air North has been in operation since Feb. 1, 1977. It acquired its first jets and began connecting the Yukon with southern gateway cities in 2002, beginning with Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

Air North now counts Victoria, Kelowna, B.C. and Ottawa among its other gateway connections—with Yellowknife on both the Ottawa and Toronto routes.

In the North, the airline offers ATR 42 turboprop service between Whitehorse and Dawson City, Old Crow and Inuvik. It also flies charter services for both passengers and cargo across North America.

Comments (14)

Up 2 Down 0

Lawl on May 16, 2022 at 2:53 pm

No one cares. You made your choice knowing the circumstances. You're free to walk or drive to Toronto.

Up 8 Down 5

Squirrelly Liberalism on May 14, 2022 at 11:34 am

To: Scott J. on May 13, 2022 at 8:18 am

I get that this is an opinion forum but your narrow definition is just that, an opinion, not fact. Definitions of the word “cult” include: “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” For example, "a cult of personality surrounding the leaders".

Your definition does not work in this context. However, the one-sided, narrow focus, decontextualized opinion could be part of a cult’s narrative. This is simply the equivalent of form over content through the psychological landscape is given shape.

We used to teach critical thinking in school but it appears that this is no longer the case. We now teach liberal narratives through the process of educational indoctrination. White person bad, white man badder, thinking baddest… Just do what feels good… What makes you happy…

Nicely done Scott J! Impulse by design, follow your feelings, like a loud mouthed squirrel chirping, and squealing while attempting to hide the “nuts”.

Up 8 Down 8

DL on May 14, 2022 at 2:11 am

Regrettably many of us won't be able to benefit from this new route at this time.
Even though it’s proven that the covid jab doesn’t stop transmission of the virus, and the great majority with covid experienced only mild symptoms, we’re still stuck with federal vax mandates for boarding a plane. This nonsense has got to stop now.

Up 13 Down 10

Fringe Minority with Unacceptable Views on May 13, 2022 at 11:33 am

Would be even better if the federal mandates didn't impede some persons from being able to use this service. I love Air North's service and look forward to flying with them when everyone can.

Up 15 Down 6

Scott J. on May 13, 2022 at 8:18 am

There is no cult following this company.

A cult is a religious group, often living together, whose beliefs are considered extreme or strange by many people.

Up 26 Down 9

Liar Liar on May 11, 2022 at 11:12 pm

I already approve of this airline, but would approve more if they took the people from Ontario who want to change the Yukon, back to Ontario.

Up 25 Down 12

Great news! on May 11, 2022 at 6:26 pm

I'll be booking my Toronto flight soon! It will be nice to step out of the Yukon at the Toronto airport. That's how I feel when I fly on Air North. Whether I'm coming back on the plane, or arriving somewhere, it feels like I'm home while I'm on the plane.

If someone finds that cultish, so be it. This airline deserves its fans!

Up 30 Down 43

Mr Facts on May 11, 2022 at 12:18 pm

The cult like mentality of Air North is hilarious. 2 weeks to respond to an email. Waiting for over an hour today on the phone then magically disconnected. I'm glad I'm dumping my tickets. Oh yeah, $100 name change? What a joke. I'd rather walk.

Cue to air-davidians.

Up 20 Down 17

Arthur Black on May 10, 2022 at 5:51 pm

Joe - Joe - Joe Sparling

We're so glad your on OUR SIDE

Up 11 Down 18

Groucho d'North on May 10, 2022 at 5:46 pm

I anticipate there will soon be an announcment on what Tourism will be doing to lure Torontonians here to the Yukon. I wonder what the budget will be?

Up 22 Down 22

dick on May 10, 2022 at 5:17 pm

If You ever wanted to get all the Liberals in one place. LOL

Up 60 Down 13

SH on May 10, 2022 at 4:12 pm

Great news for our community! I look forward to taking advantage of the new route.

Up 64 Down 17

Al on May 10, 2022 at 3:03 pm

Way to go Joe et al. Best airlines in North America, by far. For my family it is always a pleasure to ride with you and your great staff. Thanks...

Up 14 Down 22

East Coast Ex-Pat on May 10, 2022 at 2:07 pm

Pre-Covid wasn’t there going to be seasonal Air North service to Halifax as well? Is that still in the works?

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.