Welcome to the north. We always cram silly, or old, small, or way to big of plane on the weirdest of routes.
And yes, Northwestern only has J-31's.
Northwestern has the right idea here, it would seem this route is a trial, to see if there is a market for city cetnre service again (Yellowknife was once served from City, long, long ago) and to see if they can beat out Canadian North of the Fort Smith run to YEG
. Remember that Canadian North cut frequecies, Northwestern may be trying to fill the void.
If it is sucessful, expect them to pull an "Air North" where they would aquire finacing to upgrade to a bigger, faster type. (Not necessarily a jet).
Although regional jets are years away from ever seeing the north, they would work well in this case. Certainly more economical than the ol F-28.
Also note, Northwestern is becomming quite popular, I remember the days when the only flew a Beech 99 into YZF, now its not uncommon to see to J-31s flying down, usually in the late afternoon.
Secondly, the GNWT may be the most lucrative idea behind this whole thing. Both Fort Smith and Yellowknife send people to Edmonton regualrly, most notably for health, and business downtown. The transport costs are astronomical from YEG
to downtown, so they (GNWT) may see the extra 50$ (or whatever it is) as a cost saving opp.
However, Canadian North (from YZF and Smith) and First Air both provide damn good service, with hot meals etc. on the YEG
flights, Northwestern cant compete with this, or with the speed.
It'll be interesting to see. Right now, expcet it to be a summer service, gone by October. However, if it looks promising, it'll be here to stay.