Air Greenland teams with First Air for Iqaluit flights

First Air will provide baggage handling and ticket sales in Iqaluit for Air Greenland's flights to and from Nuuk starting June 15.

First Air will provide baggage handling and ticket sales for service to Nuuk

Air Greenland is teaming up with First Air in re-launching regular commercial flights between Nuuk and Iqaluit, starting next week.

The two airlines hold the rights to the route and offered the service previously, until 2001, using First Air planes.  This time around, Air Greenland will do the flying with First Air lending support. Air Greenland will operate a 37-passenger Dash 8 twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, starting June 15.

Air Greenland's summer service between Nuuk and Iqaluit using Dash 8 aircraft will begin June 15. (Air Greenland)

Chris Ferris, vice-president of marketing and sales for First Air, said the partnership is a natural fit.

He said the Nuuk-Iqaluit route will link to First Air's Iqaluit-Ottawa run. Air Greenland and First Air will co-ordinate their flights and allow time for passengers to go through customs in Iqaluit.

"It's a nice add-on to an existing route and if Air Greenland believes it can cover that cost, it's a win-win," he said.

First Air will also provide services such as baggage handling and ticket sales.

Christian Keldsen, Air Greenland's chief commercial officer, said there is demand for the route out there, particularly from the resource industry.

"A lot of the solutions that have been used from North America to Greenland have been charters, and charter service here is quite expensive compared to scheduled service," he said.

The first flight was originally announced as Monday, June 18, but the Friday flight was added to accommodate a delegation from Greenland attending an oil and gas conference in St. John's, N.L. Passengers will fly Air Greenland to Iqaluit, First Air to Ottawa, and then make their own arrangements to St. John's.

Ferris said the new route will also appeal to the fishing industry and to family wanting to visit.

"I think this really is a low-cost way of testing the market, so we're looking for some successes from this over the summer."