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
Founded 1977
Hubs Whitehorse International Airport
Focus cities Vancouver, Dawson City
Frequent-flyer program None
Airport lounge Plaza Premium Lounge
Alliance None
Fleet size 11,[1] 12[2]
Destinations 10[3]
Parent company Joseph Sparling
Headquarters Whitehorse, Yukon
Key people Joseph Sparling
CEO and President

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, charter, cargo and ground handling services throughout the Yukon, with flights to the Northwest Territories, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta,and Ontario. Its main base is Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.[4]


The airline was established by Joe Sparling and Tom Woods, and started charter operations in 1977 with a single Cessna 206. Throughout the 1980s the airline steadily grew, acquiring several more aircraft including Douglas DC-3s, a Douglas DC-4, and a variety of Cessnas, de Havillands, Beechcrafts and other aircraft. 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. By this point the airline was flying a mix of scheduled and charter work.

In 2002, a pair of Boeing 737-200 jets were acquired, allowing Air North to begin competing with the mainline carriers on the Yukon-south routes. Since this move 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, as part of a new fleet expansion and modernization plan, a larger B737-400 and a winglet equipped B737-500 were acquired. With the newer 737s in service one 737-200 was retired and is now parked behind the hangar and used for spare parts and training. In 2012 a fifth HS748 (this one with a large freight door, and converted to a pure-freighter) and a second 737-500 were acquired. 2014 saw the arrival of the third 737-500, sporting an updated livery, and retirement of the other non-gravel equipped 737-200.[5] Completion of the fleet expansion and modernization plan is expected to take place over the next few years, with plans including possibly bringing a fourth 737-500 online and a gradual replacement of the aging HS-748 fleet with ATR-42s.

Since the arrival of the Boeing 737s, the main Air North base in Whitehorse has steadily expanded and now includes the original hangar which is now home to Hawker maintenance, flight ops, and cargo; a heated tent-hangar which can house either a Boeing 737 or an HS-748 and is also home to maintenance stores and offices; a new heated and insulated tent-hangar which can fit three to four aircraft; a reservations/administration building; an in-house catering and cabin services department; a small ground equipment hangar; and a fuel tank farm. Air North also operates two secondary bases, Vancouver, B.C. 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.

Currently the main bread and butter 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 the HS-748 and Boeing 737 equipment. Air North currently has several regular charter customers ranging from mines and oil companies to fishing lodges and cruise ship companies. The remainder of Air North's revenue comes from aircraft fueling services in Whitehorse, and ground handling services at Whitehorse, Dawson City, Old Crow, and Vancouver Airports. Air North is currently the ground handler for Condor in Whitehorse, and American Airlines, United Airlines and Aeromexico in Vancouver.

Air North is owned by Joseph Sparling (51%) (President) and Vuntut Development (49%), an arm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. It now has over 500 employees (as of February 2015), and over 1200 Class C & D shareholders.


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:


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 200 Series - Combi aircraft with the large freight door and gravel runway equipped. 120 passengers; 400 Series - 156 passengers; 500 Series - 122 passengers. One fitted with winglets.
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 5 5 Series 2A Four 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 fifth 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 and ice runways.

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 stored at the Air North catering facility.

Air North also provides JET-A fueling services in Whitehorse, with a fleet of three 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, Edmonton, 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]


External links[edit]