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Canadian North, First Air merger plans move forward

Yesterday, Canadian North and First Air announced their impending merger into a new pan-Arctic airline, under the name “Canadian North.” The new Canadian North carrier will provide northern communities scheduled and charter passenger and cargo services year-round.  

Their respective ownership groups, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) and Makivik Corporation, already received regulatory approval for the merger. With this approval, both companies are preparing to formalize the merger, at which time, the companies will begin the multi-phase integration of their operations. Until the formalization of the merger, both carriers will continue to operate as two separate entities. Further details related to the merger and integration timeline will be released in the coming weeks, following the formalization of the merger. 

Currently, First Air hosts a fleet of 13 ATR-42 combi and four 737 combi aircraft with space for belly hold cargo, as well as one full-freighter ATR-42. According to the carrier, it operates daily flights to 32 locations – including Yellowknife (YZF), Whitehorse (YXY) and Iqaluit (YFB) – from its hub at Ottawa Airport (YOW), carrying everything from “toothpicks to medical supplies and fresh produce” northbound. 

Canadian North, meanwhile, hosts a fleet of eight 737-300, two 737-300 combi, two 737-200 aircraft and three Dash 8 aircraft that serve a network with 17 destinations – including Inuvik (YEV), Rankin Inlet (YRT) and Cambridge Bay (YCB) – beyond its hub at Edmonton Airport (YEG). 

According to a joint statement released by the companies, combining staff and resources into a unified airline will enable the new carrier to operate with greater efficiency and sustainability. The merger will also allow for investment in the long-term growth of the new airline’s operations. The companies did not provide any further comment on what those investments would be moving forward. 

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