by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 10/97) - As a result of serious operating losses on its Whitehorse-Vancouver route, NWT Air will suspend the service Feb. 24.
The airline fully expects to maintain its presence throughout the NWT, however.
"This is a very difficult decision which we make with deep regret," said Mark Winders, president of NWT Air.
He told staff in Whitehorse recently that NWT Air came to the Whitehorse-Vancouver route with great expectation and a commitment to be in the market for the long term.
"But this has just not been a profitable operation for the airline. There are many reasons for this, including the lack of support from the Yukon territorial government for half of their travel," Winders said. "The Yukon government gave NWT Air "too little, too late."
Winders also feels a deep sense of regret for the people whose lives are being affected by the decision, particularly Whitehorse staff, many of whom had relocated to Whitehorse to launch the service.
"It has become clear to us that most travel on this route is leisure-oriented, concentrated during the summer months and that is now being increasingly serviced by charter operations," he said.
"During the balance of the year, there is simply not enough traffic to sustain two carriers," he said, referring to competitor Canadian North.