In the Dehcho, a one-man air charter firm connects communities

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By Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It is a bird, it is a plane. Since March, Goose Flying Service has shuttled residents and supplies around the smaller communities of the Northwest Territories' Dehcho region.

Sergei Mjatelski, the company's owner and operator, has lived in Fort Simpson for six years. He said his service, a one-man operation, is a “ taxi of the skies” filling a gap with charter flights carrying one or two people.
The Dehcho's communities, some with fewer than a hundred residents, can be hard to reach. During spring and fall, the formation and breakup of ice means ferries can't run but ice roads aren't stable, cutting off even the regional centre of Fort Simpson.
Other communities have no road access at all in the summer, when ice roads have melted. Mjatelski says that means air charters have an important role to play in helping people to carry on with their lives, from commuting to work to attending medical appointments or picking up goods.
“I’m catering to a smaller market,” he said. “If you’ve got one person that needs to be moved, it’s more cost-efficient to fly with myself, whereas if you’ve got a lot of people to move, you’re better off...continued

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