A Canadian North aircraft arrives at Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport on May 7.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A request by a Hay River business has resulted in an extension to the expiry date of bulk tickets from Canadian North.

Ashton Chartered Accountants had contacted Canadian North on May 1 about obtaining an extension or some other consideration for unused tickets for travel between Hay River and Yellowknife that were set to expire on May 9. That was a year after the tickets were purchased from First Air before it merged with Canadian North.

In an e-mail to Canadian North, the company noted it had purchased 40 tickets, but 15 remained unused.

“We have had to cancel a lot of our travel that generally occurs in this period due to Covid-19,” the e-mail stated. “Is there something in place protecting these tickets from expiry? If there isn’t, we would like to request an extension or possible refund.”

Later on May 1, an official of Canadian North replied, “We have reviewed your request with our senior management and, unfortunately, we are unable to extend any previously issued quick tickets. Any unused tickets will expire one year from the date of issue. I apologize for the inconvenience and that we cannot be more supportive with your request.”

As a result, Tod Ashton, a partner with Ashton Chartered Accountants, e-mailed the Hay River MLAs about the problem and copied the message to The Hub.

On May 7, The Hub contacted Dan Valin, the manager of marketing and communications with Canadian North.

The next morning Valin replied with a written statement.

“We understand that the current Covid-19 situation and changes to our schedule has made using these bulk tickets more difficult,” he stated. “After further review, we have made the decision to allow a one-time automatic extension on the expiry for all remaining unused bulk tickets part of this program. The extension will extend the expiry of these tickets to November 30th 2020.”

Valin noted that customers who participate in the program are not required to contact Canadian North because the extension will be done automatically.

“We will continue to monitor the travel restrictions and re-evaluate this policy at a later date if the current travel restrictions continue for an extended period of time,” he added.

Ashton was very pleased with that response.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “That’s what I had hoped for. I had hoped that their response would be to grant us an extension, and hopefully we’re able to use those tickets by the end of November. I’m really happy with that response.”

In comments to The Hub before the Canadian North policy change, Ashton had explained that a lot of travel by Ashton Chartered Accountants is normally done at this time of year for audit work.

“We had been expecting to use them, but of course we haven’t been able to use them the last couple of months,” he said of the tickets, explaining that, while auditing work has decreased, so has the number of Canadian North flights between Hay River and Yellowknife.

Again before the change of heart by Canadian North, Ashton noted that many companies are granting courtesies to customers in these difficult times to allow them to extend terms or receive refunds or credits.

Ashton estimated the 15 remaining tickets have a value of about $4,000.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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