Waterloo to Nunavut flights could begin this month
14 weekly flights proposed between Waterloo and Qikiqtani Region on Baffin Island
The Region of Waterloo International Airport says its annual revenue will go up by about 12 per cent after it signs a proposed deal with an airline that will charter passengers and cargo to the far north for a Toronto-based mining company.
Under the deal, Montreal-based chartered flight company Nolinor Aviation will fly out of Waterloo Region three times a week starting September 19 to the Qikiqtani Region on Baffin Island in Nunavut.
That could increase to a possible 14 flights a week, said Chris Wood, general manager of the airport.
Based on three round-trip flights per week, landing fees, per passenger fees, fuel surcharges and employee parking, the airport estimates it will earn approximately $400,000 in extra revenue in 2014.
"Our current revenues are about $3.3 million," Wood said, adding there is "zero additional expense," to the airport in order to take on the additional traffic.
Wood and the airport have agreed not to announce the name of the mining company commissioning the chartered flights.
"They would like to make the announcement when they feel the time is right. We've been asked to keep that confidential for now."
The agreement between the airport and Nolinor has to be approved by the Region of Waterloo's Planning and Works committee when it meets Tuesday.
Possible spin off from deal
With Waterloo Region on the cusp of becoming a hub for a mining facility in Canada's high north, there is the possibility the area surrounding Waterloo Region International Airport could become home for workers staffing the mine, said Wood.
"I think if this is going to be someone's jumping-off point and they need to relocate for work, who wouldn't want to live in [Waterloo] Region?" he said.
"There are now regular flights between Fort McMurray and St. John's because they are drawing a big population of workers from there."
Wood says Nolinor flights are a possibility on days when its aircraft are not flying to the Qikiqtani Region.
"Airlines don't like to let airplanes sit on the ground, so I honestly believe they are going to try to find some more work for it from here, whether it's passengers or cargo," Wood said.
The airport also anticipates Nolinor's presence will create employment and other opportunities for businesses based within the airport and the Region of Waterloo.