by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 19/97) - The Northern travel industry is abuzz with speculation that the company is about to drop its Yellowknife-Inuvik service.
NWT Air announced last week it would drop its Whitehorse-Vancouver route, on which it lost $4 million in eight months. But the cuts don't end there, according to a past and present employees who spoke to Yellowknifer on the condition of anonymity.
The sources said more cuts are coming to NWT Air, and Inuvik is the most likely target.
Inuvik is a money-losing route for NWT Air, according to one source. "Inuvik is losing money for them, and if cuts are going to be made, it's going to be Inuvik."
The Edmonton-Yellowknife is a profitable route for the company, while the Yellowknife-Rankin-Winnipeg service manages to break even, according to the source.
A middle-management NWT Air official, who also asked not to be named, said speculation about the end of the Inuvik route was "on the right track."
Other company spokespeople refused comment. Tracy St. Denis, NWT Air's manager of sales development and corporate communications, said it would be "inappropriate to comment right now."
St. Denis said company executives are discussing ways to increase the profitability of the company, and the results of those talks would be revealed within a few weeks. St. Denis refused to rule out further cuts, noting again that "to comment would be speculative."
Rumors have been bubbling to the surface ever since a CBC Radio interview with NWT Air president Mark Winders earlier this week. While discussing the termination of the Whitehorse run, Winders said the company would be looking at other routes for savings, particularly the Inuvik and Rankin Inlet runs.
Winders was not available for comment Tuesday.
Several independent industry sources said they'd also heard the rumors. Two travel agents said they'd heard rumors of Inuvik reductions or closures.
Two NWT Air cargo employees, however, said they had not heard any word of Inuvik reductions.