Air North

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This article is about the Yukon based airline. For the Australian airline, see Airnorth. For the US commuter airline formerly known as Air North, see Brockway Air.
Air North
Air North Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
4N ANT AIR NORTH
Founded 1977
Hubs Whitehorse International Airport
Focus cities Vancouver, Dawson City
Frequent-flyer program None
Airport lounge Plaza Premium Lounge
Alliance None
Fleet size 12,[1] 12[2]
Destinations 10[3]
Parent company Joseph Sparling
Headquarters Whitehorse, Yukon
Key people Joseph Sparling
CEO and President
Website www.flyairnorth.com

Air North Charter and Training Ltd., operating as Air North, Yukon's Airline is a Canadian airline based in Whitehorse, Yukon. It operates scheduled passenger and cargo flights, charter flights, and ground handling services throughout the Yukon, with regular flights to the Northwest Territories, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta,and Ontario. Its main base is Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.[4]

History[edit]

The airline was established by Joe Sparling and Tom Woods, and started flight training and general purpose charter operations in 1977 with a single Cessna 206. Throughout the 1980s the company steadily grew and acquired several more aircraft including Douglas DC-3s, a Douglas DC-4, and a variety of Cessnas, de Havillands and other aircraft. Also during the 1980s Air North began offering scheduled passenger and cargo service in addition to charter services. During the 1990s the fleet of piston-powered aircraft were replaced with more modern turboprop aircraft, and by 2000 the fleet consisted of one Beechcraft Model 99 and three Hawker Siddeley 748 Series 2As.

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation of Old Crow also began investing in Air North around this time, and with help from this investment Air North acquired a pair of Boeing 737-200 jets in 2002. These jets allowed Air North to begin competing with the mainline carriers between the Yukon and Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. These routes have proven to be successful and in recent years Kelowna, Yellowknife and Ottawa have also been added to Air North's route map. Since Air North began scheduled jet service on the Yukon-South routes passenger traffic at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport has doubled, and in 2014 nearly 60% of those passengers flew with Air North.

The Beech 99 was sold in 2005, a fourth Hawker Siddeley 748 acquired in 2006, and in the summer of 2008 a Boeing 737-200 combi was acquired, with its large main deck cargo door and moveable bulkhead allowing all-cargo as well as mixed cargo/passenger operations with the 737. Soon after a gravel kit was also installed on the 737 Combi, allowing the aircraft to operate on the airline's northern routes and expand charter capabilities.

Starting in 2010 a new fleet expansion and modernization plan was put into action, beginning with a larger B737-400 and a winglet equipped B737-500. In 2012 a fifth HS748 (this one a pure freighter equipped with the large freight door) and a second 737-500 were acquired. 2014 saw the arrival of the third 737-500, sporting an updated livery. With the newer 737s in service the two non-gravel equipped 737-200s and one HS-748 have been retired and are now used for spare parts and training.[5] Completion of the fleet expansion and modernization plan is expected to take place over the next few years, with plans including additional 737-500 aircraft and a gradual replacement of the aging HS-748 fleet with ATR-42 aircraft.

Since the arrival of the Boeing 737s, the main Air North base in Whitehorse has steadily expanded and now includes the original hangar and cargo warehouse, two heated tent-hangars, a reservations and administration building, an in-house catering and cabin services department, a small ground equipment hangar, and a fueling facility. Air North also operates secondary bases in Vancouver, B.C., Edmonton, Alberta, and Dawson City, Yukon.

In conjunction with Harper Street Publishing, Air North launched its inflight magazine, Yukon, North of Ordinary[6] in February 2007. Yukon, North of Ordinary is published quarterly with a press run of 20,000. It is available in-flight, via subscriptions, and in bookstores across Canada. The magazine is owned and operated by Harper Street Publishing of Carcross, Yukon.

Also in the mid-2000s Air North opened its own flight kitchen in Whitehorse, and has since become well known for its above average in-flight service. Most flights include a beverage service and a complimentary light meal made fresh daily, followed by a complimentary dessert such as cheese cake or fresh cookies. Yukon based products are featured when possible, and often include Midnight Sun coffee, Yukon Brewing beers, and Yukon Spring water.

Currently the mainstay of Air North's work is scheduled passenger and cargo flights between Whitehorse and Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Ottawa, Dawson City, Old Crow and Inuvik. Air North also runs regular freight trips and fuel-haul flights to the fly-in only community of Old Crow, Yukon. In addition to scheduled routes, Air North is also involved in a variety of charter work and they offer passenger, combi, cargo and fuel-haul charter services to anywhere in North America with both HS-748 and Boeing 737 equipment. Regular charter customers include mine operators, oil companies, cruise ship operators, fishing lodges, sports groups, and others. The remainder of Air North's revenue comes from ground handling services at Whitehorse, Dawson City, Old Crow, Edmonton and Vancouver Airports, as well as Jet-A refuelling services at Whitehorse. Air North is currently main provider of Jet-A fuel service in Whitehorse and is also the ground handler for Condor Airlines in Whitehorse, as well as American Airlines, United Airlines and Aeromexico in Vancouver.

Air North is currently owned by Joseph Sparling (51%) (President, CEO, and Boeing 737 Captain) and the Vuntut Development Corporation (49%), an arm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. Air North is now one of the largest private sector employers in the Yukon Territory; but continues to take great pride in being a team effort among employees, and maintains a hands-on management style. As of 2015 Air North has over 500 employees and also has more than 1,200 Class C & D shareholders.

Destinations[edit]

Air North Hawker-Siddeley 748.
Air North jet parked at the gate at Fairbanks International Airport.

As of January 2016, Air North provides scheduled service to the following destinations.[3]

In addition to scheduled flights, Air North offers passenger, freight and combi charter services throughout the Yukon and across North America. Both the HS-748s and 737s are regularly chartered for mining, forestry, sports teams, fishing lodges, and a variety of other customers.[7]

Air North provides seasonal vacation flights to:

Air North provides Seasonal Fishing Charters from Vancouver International Airport to:

Air North provides Seasonal Cruise Ship Charters from Dawson City Airport to:

Fleet[edit]

As of January 2016 the Air North fleet consists of the following aircraft:[1][2]

Air North Fleet
Aircraft No. of aircraft
ANT list[1]
No. of aircraft
TC list[2]
Variants Notes
Boeing 737 6 7 200 Series, 400 Series, 500 Series One 200 Series Combi aircraft with large freight door and gravel runway equipped, up to 125 passengers depending on configuration. One 400 Series, 156 passengers. Four 500 Series, 122 passengers, two are fitted with winglets.
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 4 4 Series 2A Three are Combi certified, which can be configured for 40 passengers, up to 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) of cargo, or virtually any combination of passengers and cargo. The fourth is a pure freighter and has the large freight door in the rear fuselage. Two can be also be configured to haul fuel. All are certified for gravel runways.
ATR 42 2 2 ATR 42-300 Two ATR 42-300, both combi certified and gravel runway capable. Due to enter service in late 2016.

Previously operated fleet[edit]

Aircraft previously operated include:[8]

Ground handling[edit]

An Air North ground handler in Vancouver

At Vancouver International Airport, Air North was the ground and passenger service handler for Harmony Airways before they ceased operations in 2007. Air North now provides full ground handling services for American Airlines, United Airlines and Aeroméxico at Vancouver. The ground handling operation is also equipped to provide services to other operators of both jet and turboprop aircraft.

At Whitehorse International Airport, Air North provides its own ground handling and passenger handling service. In addition, Air North also provides ground handling and passenger services for other airlines including Condor, the Department of National Defence, as well as a variety of charter flights that pass through. When Air Canada or Air Canada Express overnights at Whitehorse, the return catering is handled by Air North.

Air North also provides JET-A fueling services in Whitehorse, with a fleet of four trucks. Main customers include Air Canada, Condor, Jazz and WestJet. JET-A fuel services are available on-call to anyone passing through Whitehorse Airport.

Air North also employs its own ground staff in Dawson City and Old Crow. Ground services at Inuvik, Fairbanks, Kelowna, Calgary, Yellowknife and Ottawa bases are contracted out.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 20 September 1987, Piper PA-31 Navajo C-GPAC crashed on a flight from Whitehorse to Juneau, Alaska killing all five on board. The plane crashed into a glacier at 4,500 ft (1,400 m).[9]
  • On 19 August 1995, Douglas C-47B C-GZOF crashed on approach to Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, British Columbia killing one of the three crew. The aircraft was on a ferry flight to Prince Rupert Airport when the starboard propeller went into overspeed and the decision was made to return to Vancouver International.[10]
  • On 14 August 1996, Douglas DC-4 C-FGNI crashed shortly after takeoff from Bronson Creek mine in Northern B.C. with three crew and a full load of cargo on board. On climbout #2 engine caught fire and eventually separated from the aircraft. The crew attempted to bring the aircraft back to land, however the aircraft couldn't maintain altitude on three engines and the crew instead landed in the creek about 1.2 nautical miles (2.2 km; 1.4 mi) from the airstrip, where all three crew were able to escape the wreckage. The first officer and load master swam to shore, but unfortunately the captain was never found and presumed to have drowned.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]