Air North President Joe Sparling says the current turmoil in Canada’s airline industry makes the creation of interline agreements between northern airlines and Canada’s main carriers even more important. Sparling’s airline and several others serve dozens of northern communities and some also have flights to “gateway” southern cities. Passengers have to book separately on southern airlines for flights on those networks and therefore have no recourse when flight disruptions keep them from making their flights up north. With interline deals, the full itinerary would be subject to cancellation and delay provisions that would find alternative flights or issue refunds for the missed flights.
“Every community in Canada that gets scheduled air service, residents of that community should be able to get to any other community in Canada or even outside of the country as seamlessly and affordably as possible,” Sparling told the CBC. “That’s not the case now.” Sparling said the rationalization of the industry to two major carriers threatens service in rural and isolated areas of the country. “Now we have, in essence, a duopoly in Canada with two very large carriers that only fly to about a third of all the communities that receive scheduled air service,” he said.