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. The parties expect to complete the merger by the end of 2018.
The companies believe 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 B737 and ATR aircraft;
- Improve sustainability and efficiency of Arctic air services thus enabling the airline to more effectively meet demand across 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 Corp.
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,” Makivik said in a company press release.