Local airline offers an affordable alternative for travel to the territory
“We learned that we had to first market Yukon and then market our own airline services,” says Joseph Sparling, president and co-founder of Air North, Yukon’s Airline.
For 25 years, Air North traversed Yukon and Alaska with both chartered and then scheduled services, starting with one Cessna 206 and advancing to turbo props. Then in 2002, Air North seized the market opportunity to also offer scheduled low-cost, direct flights on Boeing 737-200 jets between Whitehorse, Yukon, and three gateway cities: Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta, and Edmonton, Alberta.
“This seemed like a natural next step for us,” Sparling says. “We believed we could offer better service at a lower cost than other airlines.”
But marketing team members knew they couldn’t just “Wow!” current customers with flights at less than half the prior cost—starting at just $195 one-way. They needed to win support both inside and outside of Yukon. To weave the airline into the fiber of the territory, Air North has hundreds of Yukon shareholders and maintains a “buy Yukon” policy. During the flight, passengers receive a taste of the regional food served by flight attendants in traditional uniforms.
Air North actively promotes Yukon to individuals in gateway cities who have a significant interest in visiting the area. “We’ve seen the travel market in and out of Yukon grow with more people traveling and more often,” Sparling says.
Although the company is excited about introducing visitors to the wonders of Yukon, Air North also knows it must continue its quality service to those in the territories. Now with Hawker Siddeley 748 aircraft, passengers can still fly Air North to Dawson City, Old Crow, Inuvik, and in season, Fairbanks.