Why This Unusual Transatlantic Route Exists

, , 100 Comments


“Condor 426, tower, wind 300 at 9 gusting
23, cleared to land runway 32L.” “Condor 426, runway 32L, cleared to land.” What you’re seeing here may appear to be
an ordinary Condor Boeing 767 arrival. But what you may not know is that this aircraft
is landing in one of the most remote cities in North America – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Whitehorse is the capital city of Canada’s
Yukon territory, located just above the 60th parallel north, and is the largest city in
Northern Canada. Condor Airlines of Germany operates this 767
on a seasonal transatlantic flight between Frankfurt and Whitehorse, once a week between
June and September. Sounds fairly normal, right? In my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Condor
usually serves us 2 to 4 times a week year after year, again, between June and September. This seems like a standard seasonal route. But here’s the thing. Calgary has a population of around 1.2 million. Whitehorse? Just 25,000. If you look at this flight based only on population,
a city that small having a transatlantic flight is definitely something of an eyebrow raiser. For comparison’s sake, the next largest
Canadian city with transatlantic flights, St. John’s, Newfoundland, has a population
of around 108,000. They have year-round service to London Heathrow
with Air Canada, with daily flights in peak season. However, even that’s been suspended for
now due to the 737 MAX situation. Larger cities like Victoria, Saskatoon, and
even Winnipeg as of next year, just don’t have transatlantic flights at all. Nonetheless, that’s a bit of oversimplification,
especially for a country as sparsely populated as Canada, where there are a lot of external
factors. So, in Whitehorse’s case, let’s put things
into perspective. How is a city of 25,000 people able to support
a transatlantic flight, even if just for the summer? Well, to find out, I reached out to Condor,
and to their credit, they did actually reply. Essentially, these flights are very popular
with German tourists who enjoy nature and the scenery of the Yukon Territory. Condor says the demand for the flights is
high as Canada is one of the most popular destinations for Germans. The latter certainly seems to be true, seeing
as Condor now serves 5 Canadian cities, and recently announced Edmonton as a 6th destination,
starting next summer. Whitehorse is also a popular destination among
Condor’s crews, and I was told it’s highly requested as they particularly enjoy their
stopovers there. And honestly? It’s pretty easy to see why. Whitehorse is home to some truly unspoiled
wilderness. Downtown, you’ll find the usual North American
amenities, but just a few minutes outside of the city, you’ll find yourself someplace
completely different. Even just an hour away from Whitehorse are
some fascinating sights, including what’s unofficially known as “The World’s Smallest
Desert” near Carcross, Yukon. There’s also some very interesting history,
from the gold rush in the late 19th century, to the construction of the Alaska Highway
during World War II. During the summer, the days in Whitehorse
are over 19 hours long, thanks to its high latitude. When I went there in June, the sun rose at
4:30 in the morning and didn’t set until 11:30 at night. During the winter though, the days are less
than 6 hours long, so you can see why this is a seasonal flight. However, there are plenty of chances to see
the Northern lights during the colder months, since it’s actually not dark enough at night
in the summer. As the largest city in the North, Whitehorse
is served by Erik Nielson Whitehorse International Airport. The airport is home to Yukon’s airline,
Air North, which operates flights to cities in Alberta, British Columbia, and even Ottawa
via Yellowknife on a seasonal basis. They also serve regional routes within Yukon,
using ATR 42s, and the occasional Hawker Siddeley HS748. Air Canada and WestJet also fly here, from
Vancouver and Calgary respectively, though WestJet’s flight is seasonal. And of course, there’s this very flight
with Condor to Frankfurt. Logistically, Condor says that after all their
years operating flights to Whitehorse, everyone involved, including the airport, car rental
services, and RV operators have all dealt quite well with it. 2019 also marks Condor’s 20th anniversary
of serving Whitehorse, and surprisingly enough, it’s not their only destination above the
60th parallel. They also fly between Frankfurt and Fairbanks
in Alaska, once a week, and four times a week between Frankfurt and Anchorage! It’s pretty clear that Condor has found
a niche market in far northwestern North America, and it seems to be working for them. In Whitehorse’s case, Condor themselves
said that they are proud to be the only European airline that serves such a beautiful destination
and to offer both tourists and locals a unique link between Yukon and Europe. They also called Whitehorse a gem in their
network, and a destination they wouldn’t want to miss. While the situation with former parent company
Thomas Cook is unfortunate, flights to Whitehorse for summer 2020 are open for booking, so it
seems to me that this bizarre transatlantic route with Condor will indeed live on. A special thank you to Condor’s media team
for answering my questions about this peculiar route of theirs, and thank you very much for
watching! I honestly had a wonderful time in Whitehorse
last June, and I figured that Condor’s flight here was something worth looking into. Who knows, it might make for a pretty interesting
trip report one day. But, as always, please leave a like if you
enjoyed the video, subscribe if you’re new, and I’ll see you next time.

 

100 Responses

  1. Pepe Lepu

    December 22, 2019 2:43 pm

    NO, I BELEIVE THIS FLY HAS A MILITARY CONNOTATION WHICH LOOK FOR THE GERMANS TO KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO FLY TO AMERICA IN A POTENTIAL WAR!

    Reply
  2. Thomas Paine

    December 23, 2019 6:53 am

    If the airliner ever has to land during it's route, they are all dead, given the great-circle route over the arctic. This seems like the riskiest route in all the world, except perhaps over the middle of the South Pacific.

    Reply
  3. anastunya

    December 23, 2019 3:40 pm

    Velly interesting, Boris, that Germans bought name of C_A’s Condor Air. I thought you were going to say that convicts were being shipped to Western Canada or some other nefarious business. Just German “tourists” and wealthy Canadians flying to Octoberfest, Okay, if you say so! 😉

    Reply
  4. Amr Hefni

    December 23, 2019 3:43 pm

    Thank you, that's really interesting. I was considering a trip to Yukon last summer from Montreal. Didn't work out, but still on the list.

    Reply
  5. looseycanon

    December 23, 2019 9:31 pm

    Well, I think, we all can say that things are getting out of hand, when Whitehorse announces major airport remodeling to accomodate Jumbos and A380s due to seasonal traffic…

    Reply
  6. asfjfheewgjgmkgmkorkiorigjr hgijrigjijgirjgijr

    December 23, 2019 9:50 pm

    My bullshit meter is off the charts, especially after that condor PR email.

    While I couldn't find a reason why this particular flight exists, my gut says it has to do with subsidies or high airport fees at other locations.

    Canada has high airport fees compared to rest of the world, maybe this particular airport has low fees (due to government waiver) and is somehow used as a gateway to the rest of the country.

    If you do more research I'm almost sure you'll find the actual reason is not Germans loving the outdoors lol.

    Reply
  7. Shawn

    December 25, 2019 6:33 pm

    Are airlines fly slightly lower, so passengers can enjoy the view for a slightly longer time. I gather that may be incrementally higher fuel cost that way as well

    Reply
  8. Christopher X

    December 26, 2019 7:46 pm

    60th parallel? Nothing special to it. Most of the Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden and Finland lie above the 60th.

    Reply
  9. homayoun Shirazi

    December 27, 2019 6:52 am

    For those who are gullible enough to accept Germany's enthusiasm for Canadian wilderness, this response might be sufficient to satisfy them. I suspect there might be an alternative explanation that could bypass love of nature for something to do with military testing. A curiously similar interest seems to have developed in Israel to frequent the Northwest teritory and Alaskan closed military sites of US! Need for secracy is a far more digestible explanation than nature loving enthusiasm of a few Europeans at the season of high mosquitoes in the Northwest region of Canada. Food for thought!

    Reply
  10. TenaciousTO

    December 29, 2019 11:04 pm

    In the summer of 2018, we missed our connection from Frankfurt to Vancouver. We got rebooked on the same flight the next day but asked if there was an alternative. And that alternative was a flight to Whitehorse followed by one to Vancouver. Even the clerk at the airport in Frankfurt never heard of Whitehorse. But we had a 5 hour layover which we enjoyed spending in a town where we'd normally never have been.

    Reply
  11. PlaneSpottingBerlin ✈ Aviation Videos

    December 30, 2019 10:51 am

    "Because Canada is a popular destination of Germans".

    As a German seeing Germans everywhere i fly to – which destination is not popular for Germans? 😂😂

    Reply
  12. Justin Moore

    January 3, 2020 4:38 am

    I like Japan too. My grandfather was not a huge fan, but they are a respectful culture. I guess that was the reason for Ricoh to add the cherry on top for your fucked up new world order scheme.

    Reply
  13. David Lloyd-Jones

    January 3, 2020 11:44 am

    Nice interesting video. It's a pity you didn't use a globe to show the route from Frankfurt to Whitehorse. The Earth is round, so Frankfurt is almost due north, not east by south-east, from Whitehorse.
    (I'm shocked to find that Google Maps are in Mercator projection: another generation of Americans get to grow up in total ignorance of how the world works!)

    Reply
  14. Annette Melnychuk

    January 3, 2020 5:02 pm

    How does a city and airport that is smaller than Lethbridge end up with a beauty like the 767 and we end up with just the Dash-8s? Anyway thanks for another awesome video

    Reply
  15. Ty Plouffe

    January 3, 2020 9:46 pm

    Two summers ago I noticed this peculiar route and decided to give it a try. I flew out of Whitehorse to Frankfurt, and was probably one of maybe 3 Canadians on board. The rest of the flight was German tourists, it surprised me how much they all spoke of how much they loved Canada and the Yukon. Truly one of the most unique flight experiences I've had.

    Reply
  16. Guillaume Giroux

    January 6, 2020 3:44 am

    I remember seeing this route on wikipedia and thought it was an editing mistake. But no, it was true.

    Reply
  17. Tony Nesta

    January 10, 2020 3:55 am

    I don't get it and wouldn't do it. Germans also love warm beaches. This must be advertising…..Oh it's in the summer. Ok makes sense. But the Fare must cost Ten times the amount it would cost to go to a popular destination due to economics. Sorry I'll pass.

    Reply
  18. Quansem

    January 18, 2020 1:37 am

    Flew Condor from Calgary to Frankfurt (then KLM to Amsterdam). No complaints at all; would do again. Glad to hear the Thomas Cooke issue did not cancel these routes.

    Reply
  19. El Hamburgo

    January 19, 2020 12:41 am

    I’m from Germany and to be honest it makes sense to me because I love the north and the wilderness, no matter if it’s Scandinavia (I’ll might drive from Hamburg through the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway to the North Cape), Asia (Russia) or North America! And I know that I’m not the only german/european there! My dad worked for Condor, it’s clearly a good deal for them and I’ll definitely visit Yukon and Alaska in future as I’ve only been to mainland US and southern Canada in North America yet.

    Reply
  20. Romain Sandt

    January 19, 2020 9:59 am

    That Retro Livery on this 767 (I think) looks awesome. I wish more planes looked great like that. I still miss the Shinny silver American Airlines, The cool looks of the 50s to 70s… Before they started to make them all white and boring in the 90s to now.

    Reply
  21. Asus McTablet

    January 21, 2020 1:22 am

    German tourists are well known in Canada for their favourite pastime: getting killed and eaten by bears. About 50 get eaten here every year.

    Reply
  22. Family on Standby

    January 21, 2020 12:36 pm

    One day we’ll have to fly this route. We make it a goal to take ridiculous routing to get places, this might be worthwhile!

    Reply
  23. s shlubb

    January 22, 2020 12:23 am

    No wonder sales of German Brew Schneider-Weisse is off the charts in Whitehorse…Couldn't figure it out until I learned from this video that Krauts are flying there in droves…Makes sense now!!!

    Reply
  24. mountain view

    January 23, 2020 1:41 am

    After watching this, I got curious so tried to find non-stop flights between Frankfurt and Whitehorse online but to no avail. I tried all the dates in June-Aug 2020. Perhaps you must book it in Germany thru the travel agency only.

    Reply
  25. John m

    January 23, 2020 3:45 am

    The Europeans enjoy life they travel to the whole world we in USA work like a dog live like a dog a d die like a dog most Americans never leave usa about 40% never leave their state of birth I lived in Germany for 3 years as a DOD employee and its amazing how they enjoy life

    Reply
  26. BetterAircraftFabric

    January 23, 2020 8:27 pm

    Of course the flight continues to Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska!!! – That is the big trick behind it. The Whitehorse is just a stop on the way to Alaska! – And we in Alaska like it that way…

    Reply
  27. Tomasz Klisz

    January 24, 2020 4:10 am

    Condor about to be swallowed by LOT.
    The plot twist when just few years ago the commie gov of Poland wanted to intentionally bankrupt LOT so Lufthansa would acquire it.
    Now the same commies are committing treason etc in Brussels.
    All commies should be shot.

    Reply
  28. reffoelcnu alouncelal

    January 24, 2020 9:02 am

    So that’s where the Germans go on holiday . They certainly are never seen here in France . Hmm wonder why ?

    Reply
  29. Jeffrey Werner

    January 24, 2020 10:28 am

    Very cool video Alex, very cool, I also loved your review of the AC A220-300, which is one of my most favorite new Airplane, Bombardier certainly went above and beyond in the R and D of the plane with complete Pilot input in its cockpit design and glass displays. It truly is a beautiful plane. It will always be the C Series to me, not an Airbus.

    Reply
  30. Anarchist in a bomber

    January 24, 2020 10:15 pm

    Condor , the „classical“ German holiday shuttle . Makes sense they are flying this route and not any other German or Canadian airline

    Reply
  31. Forbes Hutton

    January 25, 2020 5:43 am

    Ask yourself how close Whitehorse is to the diamond mines in the north. Then ask yourself how close Frankfurt is to Zurich. The "tourists" are experienced diamond cutters and buyers.

    Reply
  32. azmike1956

    January 25, 2020 5:07 pm

    Cool stuff Alex. Before I retired last year I worked for a company that did APU maintenance & OH.
    A couple of our customers were AirNorth & Nordair. It's nice to keep up on what's going on.

    Reply
  33. Edward Vermillion

    January 26, 2020 12:00 am

    What surprised me more than a transatlantic flight between Frankfurt and Whitehorse, was that there was an airport in Whitehorse. We drove through in '91 and considered ourselves lucky the little town had a bank that would let us cash traveler's checks.

    Reply
  34. Mason Valenzuela

    January 26, 2020 3:58 am

    Kind of disappointed it has nothing to do with some sort of top secret Canadian military compound.

    Reply
  35. Hy Ho

    January 26, 2020 11:46 pm

    Every country has a Transnational "city" State. Like Washington D.C., Brasilia D.F., City of London, Vatican, Frankfurt (Stolen_Truth), etc … I believe that Whitehorse is the one to Canada. The place where strange decisions are made to favor ancient ocultisms.

    Reply
  36. cmscms123456

    January 27, 2020 4:58 am

    Germans are probably scoping out a new place to escape to, pending the absolute take over of their country by third worlders.

    Reply

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