Whitehorse-Juneau flights gain momentum

Officials in both cities say proposed flights in February are likely

Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interest in the possibility of flying directly to Juneau is growing in Whitehorse and though February's proposed flights are not yet certain, officials in both cities say they're likely to happen.

"We've had more interest in it on this side. We're still working on it with Air North - we've got progress, but we haven't got a date yet," said Whitehorse Tourism and Economic Development Director Sheila Dodd. "It does take quite a while to figure this out."

The Juneau Assembly voted in October to guarantee Juneau's side of three proposed flights between the two cities - one in December, one Feb. 21 and 22, during the Yukon Sled Dog Race, and one and one April 9 to April 11, during Alaska Folk Festival.

If no tickets for a 40-person flight sell, Juneau pays $8,800. If one ticket goes unsold, the city would only pay the price of that one ticket. If the flights sell out, the city would owe nothing.

The Whitehorse City Council declined to provide such funding, instead directing its administrators to find another way to guarantee seat sales, Dodd said.

The flights would each carry 40 passengers, cost $240 per round-trip ticket and take about one hour.

The December flights were canceled due to lack of funding and interest in Whitehorse, but Dodd said interest is growing with individuals as well as groups as large as 20. Many of those groups are sports teams.

"It's not just ones and twos, but groups," Dodd said. "We really need that to stay in business."

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.

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