An aviation fuel shortage in Gjoa Haven has caused flights out of the community to be limited to medevacs.

A notice to pilots and airport staff, known as a NOTAM, has been issued dictating that only flights for medical evacuations can leave the Kitikmeot community, said Petroleum Product Division director Bernard Borque. He did not specify when the NOTAM will be lifted.

Gjoa Haven is home to close to 1,300 people. However, the community’s small airport facilitates regular flights to and from other communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Canadian North, an Inuit-owned airline servicing the North, has had at least one flight from the community cancelled this week.

“While the current fuel shortages in some Nunavut communities is now beginning to affect some flights, we are working to alter our routings through Gjoa Haven as fuel has become available now in Kugaaruk, to give the aircraft the ability to refuel at other stations,” the airline stated. “This will reduce the need to uplift in the communities that have limited fuel available. However, this may trigger longer flights and may impact the payloads Canadian North can carry out of other stations.

“While these shortages remain a challenge for everyone living in the North, Canadian North is working to support our communities, and we will adjust the routings and reduce the seats/payload on the flights to adapt to the inability to get fuel.  We are not expecting large-scale cancellations to occur.”

Tony Akoak, the MLA for Gjoa Haven, acknowledged the existence of the aviation fuel shortage in an email. He noted that “we have gasoline and diesel fuel enough to last until sealift,” implying there is not a shortage of those types of fuel.

Borque said a NOTAM had also been issued in the Kitikmeot community of Kugaaruk, also due to fuel “inventory concerns.” However, that NOTAM was not issued by his division, and it was lifted on May 27.

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