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Air Creebec resuming flights grounded during COVID-19

Airline says it will resume 3 flights a week from Montreal to Cree communities

Posted: August 18, 2020

Air Creebec said it is increasing disinfection protocols on its aircraft and offices, as well as implementing mandatory mask-wearing and physical distancing, as it brings back passenger flights. (Air Creebec/Jean-Philppe Richard)

Air Creebec will resume flight service to Cree communities, according to a news release Tuesday.

The airline grounded passenger flights earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduced its workforce by 50 per cent. It continued essential services such as medical charters to get patients to appointments in the South.

Air Creebec, which is owned by the Quebec Cree Nation and based in Waskaganish, Que., connects Cree communities to larger cities, such as Val d'Or, Chibougamau and Montreal.

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The airline said this week that it will resume three flights a week from Montreal to the Cree communities. It will also offer a regular flight between Val-d'Or and Montreal.

"After discussions with the Cree Health Board and Public Health, Air Creebec recognizes that there is some essential travel required, such as other medical personnel, workers for urgent community needs and, in some instances, families reuniting," the news release said.

Matthew Happyjack, president of Air Creebec, told CBC in April that it had started gradually reducing passenger service in mid-March as they saw the numbers drop. He said communities also wanted to minimize people coming in.

"The health and safety of our passengers, clients and employees is Air Creebec's primary goal and we are not willing to sacrifice this for financial reasons," Happyjack said in the statement this week.

The airline said it is increasing disinfection protocols on its aircraft and offices, as well as implementing mandatory mask-wearing and physical distancing.

It intends to start the limited schedule the week of Aug. 24, which will be posted on the airline's website.