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Yukon-based airline readies for chartered flight to Victoria from Whitehorse

September 14, 2010
(Article by Mike Kozakowski, Courtesy - www.vibrantvictoria.ca)

A Whitehorse, Yukon-based airline has set its sights on Victoria by initiating its first company-organized chartered flight to the region.

Air North is marketing the flight on its website as a "limited edition charter" as part of a "Thanksgiving in Victoria" campaign scheduled for departure from Whitehorse on the 8th of October with a return flight on the 11th.

"Yukon residents have a strong connection with the Victoria area," says Debra Ryan, Director of Marketing for the airline. "Our target passengers include those who have kids at UVic or family in the area and there certainly appears to be demand for this type of service."

But family ties are not the only draw. The upcoming Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon (October 10th) has already attracted some 50 passengers to the flight.

"Yukon has a lot of weekend warriors who love the outdoors and who participate in marathons. Victoria's marathon is very popular and presents an opportunity for those of us in the north to make the trip to Victoria," Ryan said.

Technically this is not the inaugural flight for the airline to Victoria International Airport. Over the years Air North has been chartered by private companies to fly between the north and Victoria utilizing one of the airline's four Boeing 737 aircraft, although such flights are rare.

The October flight, however, is the first in-house charter to Vancouver Island that follows on the footsteps of the company's recent charters to Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics and to the Okanagan for wine connoisseurs.

Air North plans to use either a Boeing 737-200 aircraft, with a seating capacity of 120, or a 737-400 with room for 153.

"Space is filling quickly although it is too early to tell if we'll fly in with our largest plane," Ryan said, reiterating that there is nearly a month remaining before the charter departs.

The airline is also mulling a reverse charter from Victoria in 2011 if all goes well this fall. The idea is visitors would arrive in Victoria from the Yukon and Victorians would have an opportunity to catch a flight to Whitehorse and experience a part of Canada that Ryan believes is considered by too many as a remote, unattainable place.

"The flight to Whitehorse is just over two hours from Victoria or Vancouver. Many Canadians think of Canada in terms of east to west and traveling north is deemed too out of the way," says Ryan, adding that when visitors learn of the relatively short flight times to the Yukon, they are often surprised.

While Air North has a healthy volume of Islanders occupying seats on its Vancouver-Whitehorse flights, according to Ryan a direct Victoria flight is not on the horizon just yet.

Air North operates regularly scheduled service to Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, and has a network of flights connecting Whitehorse with destinations in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska.

For more information on the Air North, Yukon's Airline "Victoria Getaway 2010", check out the charter information page, or call our reservations team at (867) 668.2228 or 1.800.661.0407 (Reservations: ext 1).

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