The two largest Canadian carriers have cancelled flights to Kelowna and Yellowknife as wildfires threaten both communities. 

Air Canada will cease flying to Yellowknife on 19 August in response to a massive wildfire that has prompted the city’s full evacuation.  

”At this time, there will be no flights to or from Yellowknife on Saturday… due to the government evacuation order,” the carrier said on 17 August. ”We plan to operate as the situation permits.” 

air canada

Source: Air Canada

Air Canada boosted its flying to Yellowknife in response to the wildfire encroaching on the northern Canadian community.

The capital city of Northwest Territories, Yellowknife is threatened by a massive blaze advancing from the west that could reach the city this weekend, depending on shifting wind conditions. 

All Yellowknife residents have been ordered to evacuate the city by 18 August. 

The carrier boosted operations to Yellowknife ahead of the weekend, doubling flights on 17 August and adding one flight to its regular twice-daily service the following day. 

Fellow Canadian carrier WestJet cancelled 18 August flights to Kelowna, British Columbia due to a wildfire that forced the closure of airspace over Kelowna International airport. 

The airspace has been closed to ”allow aerial fire-fighting activity for the wildfires in the Kelowna area”, the airport said on X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter. “All arriving and departing flights have been cancelled until further notice.” 

”We’re doing everything within our capacity to help loved ones, pets, crew and the community of Kelowna evacuate safely as soon as possible,” adds WestJet, which has posted a travel advisory for the area through 24 August. 

Air Canada has also cancelled all flights to Kelowna and has ”a goodwill travel policy to enable passengers to make changes to their travel bookings, including offering a full refund on request”, it says. 

The carrier also addressed social media posts alleging that the carrier has hiked air fares to exorbitant levels while residents of Yellowknife seek air evacuation. 

”There have been postings in social media about fares being elevated,” the airline says. ”This is not correct as we proactively at the earliest possible time put in place a cap to limit fares for Air Canada’s direct flights out of Yellowknife. ” 

On 15 August, Northwest Territories declared a state of emergency due to the wildfire, which comes amid Canada’s worst-ever fire season. 

The declaration allows the regional government to ”acquire and deploy the necessary resources to support the management of this unprecedented wildfire season, and protect the health and safety of Northwest Territories residents”. 

”We continue monitoring the situation closely and will adjust our schedule as we can,” Air Canada says, adding that it has “put in place a goodwill policy for customers to change their flights booked for travel up to 30 August, or to obtain a full refund”. 

The wildfires threatening Kelowna and Yellowknife are the latest natural disasters to prompt responses from major North American carriers, as US airlines recently modified their flight schedules and aided evacuation efforts in Hawaii due to Maui’s devastating brush fires.