• Air Canada provided extra flights and larger aircraft to assist with the evacuation efforts in Yellowknife due to raging wildfires.
  • The airline addressed pricing concerns, stating that the high prices listed on third-party websites did not align with their capped fares.
  • Air Canada will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary schedule adjustments while allowing passengers to change or cancel their flights.

Following the declaration concerning a state of emergency on August 15th due to uncontrollable raging wildfires, those residing in the capital city of Yellowknife were ordered to evacuate by noon on August 18th. According to the Northwest Territories government, only residents who did not have the option to leave the vicinity by road could register for evacuation flights.

The Royal Canadian Air Force and several Canadian carriers, including Air Canada, would assist in providing these evacuation flights. Given the sudden changes to the airline's flight schedule and the ongoing confusion, the flag carrier has provided an update on its Yellowknife evacuation efforts.

Extra flights provided before the deadline

Regarding the evacuation flights, Air Canada added two extra flights on August 17th and doubled the regular frequencies to four. The airline also substituted a larger Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft for one of the additional flights, as opposed to the regular Bombardier CRJ-900 operated by its regional partner Jazz Air.

Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX taking off
Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock

Then on August 18th, Air Canada also added an extra Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight in addition to the usual two flight services. As to whether or not more flight services will be added, the flag carrier notes that further adjustments will be based on evaluated opportunities - significantly since other Canadian carriers are also offering extra evacuation flights.

And as of present, the airline will not be providing any non-stop flights to or from Yellowknife on August 19th due to the government's evacuation order. But once the situation permits, Air Canada reaffirms it is ready to flexibly adjust and operate its schedules whenever and wherever possible.

Get the latest aviation news straight to your inbox: Sign up for our newsletters today!

Capped airfares to continue

The Star Alliance member also addressed the pricing issue - which was brought on by many social media users after they were disappointed to find out that one-way flight services departing from Yellowknife on Thursday were listed for thousands of dollars as opposed to what the airline emphasized were capped prices that were proactively placed at the earliest possible time.

Some even shared that their flight itinerary was listed for over $4,660. And as more users began sharing similar experiences on their bookings for evacuation-related non-stop flights, accusations arose that Air Canada was purposefully and significantly jacking the airfare prices as a strategic advantage compared to the prices of the flight services offered by WestJet.

Although this was something many users were experiencing, Air Canada explained that these examples were aggregated airfare prices by third-party websites that were not in line with what the airline was offering and that it was working simultaneously on correcting the prices on these websites.

Besides further re-emphasizing the capped airfare prices that are still in place, Air Canada also highlights that any purchase of non-stop flight services should be made directly from its website or from a travel agent to avoid the multi-leg routings and jacked-up prices.

Aaron Davis via Wikimedia Commons<\/a>"" data-modal-id="single-image-modal" data-modal-container-id="single-image-modal-container" data-img-caption="null">
Air Canada Jazz CRJ-750

We'd love to see you on Instagram - follow us here!

Bottom line

Flights for the next few days are fairly full, although it's likely that not everyone was safely evacuated on time, so Air Canada will continue to monitor the situation and adjust its schedules where necessary. As for passengers wishing to change their flights booked for travel up to August 30th, the airline has also implemented a goodwill policy to allow changes or a full refund.

  • Air Canada Airbus A320-211 C-GQCA
    Like many airlines, Air Canada has had to rely on government loans and funding over the pandemic. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
    Air Canada
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Calgary International Airport, Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport
    Year Founded:
    Star Alliance
    Michael Rousseau