North-Wright Air suspends service to Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake
Suspension won’t apply to medical travel arranged by territorial gov't, grocery and mail drop-offs
North-Wright Air has suspended scheduled service to Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake in light of rising COVID-19 numbers in the Sahtu region and around the territory.
The Norman Wells-based airline announced the change on Thursday, noting the possibility that flights could return as soon as Aug. 30.
Travis Wright, the airline's president, said the suspension won't apply to medical travel — flights arranged by the Department of Health and Social Services — and grocery and mail drop-offs, which will continued to be flown in as it arrives in the company's Yellowknife warehouse.
Scheduled service will continue out of Norman Wells, Tulita and the Beaufort Delta region, though Wright said that depending on infection numbers, that could change.
In the suspension announcement, the airline emphasized the need for passengers to be truthful in their pre-flight COVID-19 questionnaire.
Safety manager Susan Wright explained that's because the company has learned from the health department that passengers who have been mandated to self-isolate have flown and later tested positive for the virus, leading to crew members having to self-isolate.
While the majority of crew members are fully vaccinated, she said, it is still imperative that passengers be honest on their pre-flight forms to ensure the safety of the crew and other passengers.
The airline continues to be in communication with community leaders who are asking residents to stay put as they manage the emergency, Travis said.
At this point, North-Wright will be keeping a close eye on the outbreak for when it might be able to resume regular operations.
"As long as everyone maintains what [public] health officer advise, we should be able to get through this within another 10 days or so," Travis said.
Based on an interview with Lawrence Nayally, produced by Peter Sheldon