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One carrier not enough for hamlets

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Repulse Bay (Oct 10/01) - The loss of Calm Air's passenger flight service into Repulse Bay and Coral Harbour this past spring was one of the top issues discussed at the recent Kivalliq Inuit Association annual general meeting in Repulse Bay.

Calm Air cancelled the Coral-Repulse route after suffering a reported $1 million in losses on the route during the past year.

The company cited an increase in charter flights and a reduction in medical traffic as contributing heavily to the losses.

Association president Paul Kaludjak said the Inuit association will be lobbying as hard as it can, in as many different directions as it can, to have service to the two hamlets returned to what he terms a satisfactory level.

"Whether it's Calm Air or not, it has to be somebody provide Coral Harbour and Repulse Bay with an increased level of service over what they're receiving now with only one carrier," said Kaludjak.

"Right now there's a lot of inconveniences being encountered by our many beneficiaries along the Coral Harbour-Repulse Bay route and it's totally unacceptable."

David Wright, a marketing manager with Calm Air, attended the KIA's AGM in Repulse.

Wright told those present at the meeting that Calm Air was not prepared to switch equipment or go to a smaller aircraft.

He said the company is hoping to have its Dash-8 aircraft service both Coral and Repulse by the summer of 2002.

That, however, does nothing to aid the two isolated communities now and Kaludjak said the KIA has already expressed its concerns in writing to Nunavut Transportation Minister Jack Anawak on the issue.

"Our different levels of government have to step up and help us push for better airline service to Repulse and Coral.

"The present level of service and the hardships being faced by our beneficiaries are simply unacceptable and something has to be worked out.

"We're hoping representatives from the different airlines will work with us to come up with a solution to this problem."