Airlines First Air and Canadian North to join forces

  • First Air

The Canadian carriers First Air and Canadian North are set to join forces. An agreement in principle was signed.

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Makivik Corporation (Makivik) and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) have announced, that they have signed the agreement to merge Canadian North and First Air. By the end of 2018, both parties expect to have completed the merger.

Aim of the merger is to offer better essential services to Pan-Arctic communities. Both airlines seek to use new economic opportunities, while connecting communities in the circumpolar region in the most efficient way.

Initially, the initiative was made by the Makivik Corporation under the direction of Charlie Watt Sr. He commented: “The world is changing, and we need to adapt to new realities […] This is one way to assert our sovereignty across the Arctic.”

Patrick Gruben, Chair of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC) added: “Air service is not a luxury for Northerners; it is a vital lifeline which requires ongoing investment […] We are proud of Canadian North’s tremendous success while fulfilling its mandate to provide safe, stable air service to customers in Canada’s Northern regions and we look forward to further improving these services in partnership with Makivik Corporation.”

The new entity will operate under the name of Canadian North. Aircraft however, will feature the First Air livery. The headquarters are most likely to be located in Ottawa, Canada.

Both airlines have confirmed, that the merger will not affect services, fares and scheduling.

First Air and Canadian North are Canadian carriers. First Air has hubs at the airports of Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Ranking, while Canadian North also uses Edmonton besides Yellowknife and Iqaluit. First air´s fleet consists of 17 aircraft, including 13 ATR42s and four Boeing 737-400s. Canadian North offers services with three Boeing 737-200s, 10 Boeing 737-300s and three Dash 8-100.

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