North

Talks coming on Greenland-Nunavut air link, Iqaluit-based consul says

There is new hope that direct flights will resume between Greenland and Nunavut, said Denmark's honorary consul in Iqaluit.

There is new hope that direct flights will resume between Greenland and Nunavut, said Denmark's honorary consul in Iqaluit.

Kenn Harper told CBC News that Makivik Corp., the Inuit development corporation in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, is planning to have talks with Greenland in the near future.

Makivik owns the northern airline First Air, which offers passenger and cargo flights to and within Canada's North.

"Makivik, the owner of First Air, has formed a committee recently — a committee of a few people from their board and some other people from outside their board, of which I am one," Harper said in an interview.

Harper said the committee is planning a trip to Greenland this fall.

He added that Makivik's latest move is the most promising development since scheduled flights between Greenland and Nunavut were cancelled in 2001.

Only the Davis Strait separates Iqaluit from Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. A direct flight over the strait takes less than an hour and a half.

But currently, people flying between the two cities have to make a number of stops in several countries — a journey that takes days.

"It's just on the other side of the bay out here, but it actually takes three days to come to Iqaluit," said Klaus Georg Hansen, who recently flew from his home in Nuuk to Iqaluit.

Hansen said he went from Nuuk to Greenland's international airport in Kangerlussuaq, then to Copenhagen, Denmark. The next day, he flew from Copenhagen to London, England.

Hansen arrived in Ottawa late that evening, then flew from Ottawa to Iqaluit the next morning.

"Yes, it's a trip," Hansen said.

Harper said that with all the interest in direct Greenland-Nunavut flights from mining companies, tourists and northerners, he believes the air link will be in demand.