Category Archives: First Air

New milestone agreement reached to merge First Air and Canadian North

Canadian North Boeing 737-36N C-FGCN (msn 28590) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 928273.

Makivik Corporation (Makivik) and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) have announced they have signed a definitive agreement to merge First Air and Canadian North in order to provide the best possible air services across the Arctic.

Following the receipt of government regulatory approvals, Makivik and ICG will proceed to complete the merger. The parties expect to complete the transaction by the end of 2018.

The proposed Pan-Arctic airline will operate under the name Canadian North and aircraft will feature the new First Air livery, including its Inukshuk logo.

Headquarters for the proposed airline will be located in Ottawa. The two airlines first announced their intention to merge on July 6, 2018.

Customers of First Air and Canadian North will see continuity in operations while the merger is finalized. The parties are committed to keeping customers up-to-date on all developments related to schedules and commercial flights on an ongoing basis.

The new, wholly Inuit-owned airline intends to be an economic driver in the circumpolar region as one of the North’s largest private-sector employers. Offering more flights to more destinations, the new airline hopes to help expand Arctic tourism in the communities it serves by increasing demand for tourist-related businesses and services.

The parties are pleased to announce this merger will result in significant service improvements for their valued customers, including:

  • Improved schedule: Better time-of-day options on certain routes, enabling day trips;
  • Better connectivity: Improved connections for Northern communities;
  • Increased service opportunities: Potential new routes to service more Northern destinations;
  • Existing service maintained: No reduction in flight options as a result of merger
  • Further enhanced safety: Will enable aircraft modernization across the network, as well as specialization in maintenance of Boeing 737 and ATR aircraft; and
  • Expanded charter business: Particularly related to Alberta natural resources and Northern charters, including for tourism.

As dedicated stewards of the Arctic environment, both Makivik and ICG are energized by the positive ecological impact the merged airline will have. The consolidation of duplicate, undercapacity flights, for example, will not only improve business efficiencies, but also significantly reduce GHG emissions and black carbon particulate along those routes.

A Lufthansa Consulting report commissioned by the Government of Nunavut supports the need for more efficiency in Nunavut air transportation services; the parties are confident the merger between First Air and Canadian North will meet these essential needs for all Northerners.

In the meantime, both First Air and Canadian North will continue providing Northerners with access to safe, friendly and reliable air travel services across the Arctic.

The First Air brand will be retired.

Top Copyright Photo: Canadian North Boeing 737-36N C-FGCN (msn 28590) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 928273.

Canadian North aircraft slide show:

First Air aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: First Air Boeing 737-406 Combi C-FFNE (msn 27233) YUL (Gilbert Hechema). Image: 942730.

Combi - Cargo up front

Route Maps:

Canadian North:

First Air:

 

Advertisements

First Air and Canadian North agree to merge

Canadian North Boeing 737-36N C-FKCN (msn 28573) YYC (Chris Sands). Image: 932428.

Makivik Corporation (Makivik) and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) on July 6, 2018 announced they have signed an agreement in principle to merge First Air and Canadian North in order to provide the best possible essential air services across the Arctic. Makivik took this initiative to begin the discussion under the new direction of Charlie Watt, Sr.

Following execution of definitive agreements and the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals needed to establish a strong new entity, the proposed Pan-Arctic airline will operate under the name “Canadian North” and aircraft will feature new First Air livery, including its Inukshuk logo. Headquarters for the proposed airline will be located in Ottawa. Both Makivik and IDC recognize the value and potential in the North and in the Alberta market and remain committed to supporting and growing the Alberta presence. The parties expect to complete the merger by the end of 2018.

We expect this merger will:

  • Improve Arctic air services by offering customers greater reliability, better on-time service, and fewer interruptions;
  • Further enhance safety by enabling newer aircraft across the network, as well as specialization in maintenance of Boeing 737 and ATR aircraft;

  • Improve sustainability and efficiency of Arctic air services thus enabling us to more effectively meet demand across our vast service areas while addressing challenges related to pilot shortages; and
  • Contribute to Northern and Inuit economic development by creating a wholly Inuit-owned, new airline focused on Canada’s North.

Air service is not a luxury for Northerners; it is a vital lifeline which requires ongoing investment,” said Patrick Gruben, Chair of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC). “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 world is changing and we need to adapt to new realities,” said Charlie Watt Sr., Makivik President. “This is one way to assert our sovereignty across the Arctic.”

A report commissioned by the Government of Nunavut supports the need for more efficiency in Nunavut air transportation services; a merger of First Air and Canadian North is the only viable way to both meet and exceed these essential needs for Nunavummiut and all Northerners.

Customers of First Air and Canadian North will not see changes to services, including fares and scheduling, while we work toward achieving regulatory approval and finalizing the merger. Both parties are committed to keeping customers up-to-date on all developments related to scheduled and commercial flights on an ongoing basis.

By merging these airlines we look forward to new economic opportunities in Canada and Internationally, and to better air servies for Inuit across the circumpolar region.

In the meantime, both First Air and Canadian North will continue providing Northerners with access to safe, friendly and reliable air travel services across the Arctic.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Canadian North and First Air): Canadian North Boeing 737-36N C-FKCN (msn 28573) YYC (Chris Sands). Image: 932428.

Canadian North aircraft slide show:

First Air aircraft slide show:

Below Copyright Photo: First Air Boeing 737-436 C-FFNM (msn 25839) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 942227.

First Air's 2017 new livery

Canadian North route map:

First Air route map:

First Air unveils a new look and logo

First Air on October 12, 2017 revealed a total makeover of its brand after 71 years as Canada’s preeminent northern airline.

Two aircraft in the new livery go into service immediately. The new livery wipes out the previous 2005 livery which featured photo images of the Arctic region on the tails.

The new brand features a modern and unique version of the iconic Arctic symbol: The Inuksuk. This logo is representative of the people and land of the Arctic. In the words of one Inuit Elder consulted during the design process, “We never go anywhere without an Inuksuk showing the way.”

The airline’s new primary colors are red and grey.  Brock Friesen, President and CEO of First Air said “We wanted colors that would showcase our stunning new logo, and that would stand out in the snowy Arctic and at busy southern airports.  What better color than Canadian red?”

In addition, the airline’s tagline is now: “Fly the Arctic”.  To many around the world, Ottawa and Edmonton are the North.  First Air’s operation has an Arctic responsibility attached to it, whether it’s transporting essential food, mail, or medical passengers, or uniting friends and families. There are no roads connecting the Arctic to southern Canada.

Above Photo: Boeing 737-436 C-FFNM (msn 25839) at Iqaluit previously displayed an iceberg on the tail.

Friesen added: “We also want to inspire more tourists to visit this truly exotic destination. The Arctic is a place of wonder and increasingly, tourists from around the world are looking for out-of-the-ordinary travel experiences.”

The First Air brand embraces premium customer service for all passengers, similar to business class on some airlines. Meals, special coffee, warm cookies, and wine, all at no extra charge. Starbucks Coffee was recently added.

The changes don’t stop with the new logo and livery. A new Wifi based entertainment system will soon be launched on jet routes and the website is being upgraded to improve the online booking experience.

 

First Air is 100% owned by Makivik Corporation.  Its membership is composed of the Inuit beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec agreement.

All images by First Air.

First Air:

Route Map:

The new Canadian North and First Air codeshare agreement starts on July 27

Canadian North Inc. (Yellowknife) and First Air (Ottawa) announced in May they had reached an agreement to codeshare on selected flights operated by both airlines in the far north region of Canada. The two carriers had previously planned to merge but later called off the merger. The codeshare agreement was their alternative to a planned merger.

The codeshare agreement will start on July 27 with significant changes for both carriers.

According to both Canadian regional carriers, “Introducing this codeshare will significantly improve flight schedules, provide greater choice for customers and continue to improve the sustainability of our airline. This agreement is less complex than a merger agreement, however many of the benefits envisioned previously in a merger scenario will be realized with it. Unlike a merger though, where a single merged firm sets prices post-merger, under this codeshare agreement each party will continue to independently set prices and compete for business.”

Canadian North continued;

Canadian North logo 2

“Our airline operates in one of the most challenging geographical and economic environments anywhere in the world,” says Canadian North President Steve Hankirk. “With escalating costs, shrinking travel budgets and increasing competition, we must always be looking for new, more efficient ways of offering our scheduled service to northerners. This codeshare agreement is a breakthrough that brings even more choice to our northern customers and ensures our long term sustainability.”

Canadian North northern point of view

Above: Canadian North: “Our northern point of view” (click for full size view).

Canadian North has now published a new flight schedule in its reservation system allowing customers to make reservations through all booking channels. The first codeshare flight will take to the skies in late July. The following are highlights of the enhancements being made to the current flight schedule as a result of the codeshare agreement:

Iqaluit – Ottawa

The flight schedule will be enhanced by separating current flight times,
delivering additional choices for our customers, with early morning and
early afternoon departure times.

Cambridge Bay and the Kitikmeot

Daily Boeing jet flights between Yellowknife and Cambridge Bay will be
implemented, replacing the existing Dash-8 turboprop flights.

Edmonton, Yellowknife and the Mackenzie Valley

Daily jet service up and down the Mackenzie Valley will continue, and a
Monday and Friday non-stop flight will be added between Yellowknife and
Inuvik.

A Monday morning flight will be introduced from Yellowknife to Edmonton.

Trans Arctic

Combined service will continue with three days per week service.

Graph of the changes:

Canadian North-First Air Codeshare Graph

 

More details from Airline Route: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Canadian North’s Bombardier (de Havilland Canada) DHC-8-106 Dash 8 C-GRGI (msn 304) taxies at the yellowknife base.

Canadian North aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

First Air aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

First Air logo 2

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. First Air’s ATR 42-300 C-GKLB (msn 331) with the wolf on the tail is also seen at Yellowknife, a common connecting point for both carriers.

Canadian North current route map (click on the map for the full side view):

Canadian North 7.2015 Route Map

Canadian North Videos: From our partner JustPlanes:

AG Slide Shows

 

Cargojet and First Air expand their commercial agreement

Cargojet Inc. (Cargojet Airways) (Hamilton), Canada’s domestic premium overnight air cargo network operator, and First Air (Ottawa), the Airline of the North, announced today that they have expanded their commercial co-operation agreement effective July 1, 2015 and extended their Transportation Agreement to June 30, 2025.

Cargojet logo

First Air logo 2

According to both carriers:

This agreement further strengthens the strategic alliance between the two companies, and will allow for seamless air cargo transportation between the 14 major Canadian cities served on Cargojet’s overnight air cargo network as well as the 32 communities served by First Air in Canada’s North.

Above Copyright Photo: Chris Sands/AirlinersGallery.com. Cargojet Airways Boeing 767-35E ER (F) C-GUAJ (msn 26063) departs from Calgary.

Cargojet Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

First Air aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Below Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. First Air Boeing 737-406 C-FFNC (msn 27232) (Native Hunter) taxies at Yellowknife.

AG WAN-Powered by AG

 

 

Summit Air to operate its Avro (BAe) RJ85s on two routes for First Air and to the Rio Tinto Diavik Diamond Mine

Summit Air (Yellowknife) will begin operating its 90-seat Avro (BAe) RJ85s on two routes for First Air (Ottawa). On January 27 the company will begin operating on the Yellowknife – Edmonton route and on February 2 it will begin operating on the Yellowknife – Norman Wells – Inuvik route.

Summit Air logo

On January 20 Summit Air announced the purchase of a second Avro RJ85 jet to meet market demand for remote destination crew movements and ACMI (aircraft, crew maintenance and insurance) contracts.

Summit Air is part of the Ledcor Group of Companies and operates a fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest and Yukon Territories.

According to the company release, “The Avro RJ85 is a 100-seat high performance, short-haul passenger jet, offering modern, efficient operations on flights up to 1500 nautical miles (2,800 kilometers). Rugged and versatile, its high wing design is capable of operations on both paved and gravel runways and is equipped with self-contained boarding air stair and auxiliary power unit to provide independence at remote airfields.”

“In partnership with the Det’on Cho Logistics, our Avro RJ85 operations will service the Rio Tinto Diavik Diamond Mine from Edmonton,” said Rob Mauracher. “We have also inked a partnership agreement with First Air, flying commercial passenger services for them under a long term ACMI contract from Edmonton and Yellowknife.”

Summit Air’s second AVRO RJ85 is scheduled to be delivered in late April 2015.

Summit’s AVRO RJ85 is a UK-built aircraft equipped with auto throttle, EFIS flight deck, WAAS/LPV capable and is the only next generation jet certified in Canada for operations onto gravel runways. With a long-range cruising speed of 720 km/hr (450 mph), and a maximum operating speed of 763 km/hr (475 mph), the Avro has a 43,000 kg (97,000 lbs.) maximum takeoff weight.

The aircraft is powered by four Honeywell LF507-1F high bypass FADEC engines capable of 7000 lbs of thrust each. The engines feature low noise levels and low emissions, making it one of the quietest and greenest aircraft in its class.

 

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Summit Air BAe (Avro) RJ85 is pictured as G-CHKP (msn E2302) at Southend which became C-FLRJ on delivery.

First Air aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Summit Air aircraft slide show:

Routes to be operated by Summit Air:

First Air-Summit route map

AG Bottom Ad Bar