Canadian North

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Canadian North
Check-in counters for the airline at Inuvik Airport
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1989; 35 years ago (1989)
Commenced operations1998; 26 years ago (1998)
(as Canadian North)
AOC #Canada: 107 (First Air & Canadian North)[2]
United States: N0OF050F[3]
Focus citiesCambridge Bay
Frequent-flyer program
Fleet size37[4]
Parent companyInuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC), Makivik Corporation
Headquarters20 Cope Drive, Kanata, Ontario[6]
Key people
  • Johnny Adams (executive chairman)
  • Shelly De Caria (President and CEO)[7]

Bradley Air Services, operating as Canadian North, is a wholly Inuit-owned airline headquartered in Kanata, Ontario,[6] Canada. It operates scheduled passenger services to communities in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Nunavik region of Quebec, as well as southern destinations such as Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa.[7]


A Canadian North ATR 42-500 aircraft overnighting at Cambridge Bay Airport, July 2021

First Air, originally Bradley Air Services, was founded by Canadian aviation pioneer Russel (Russ) Bradley, started operations in 1946 and is still registered under that name. Beginning as a flying school in Carp, Ontario, First Air started scheduled operations in 1973 between Ottawa and North Bay, Ontario. This service was operated with an eight-seat passenger plane.

Canadian North was established in 1989 as a subsidiary of Canadian Airlines International, specifically to serve northern Canadian communities' needs. The airline traces its roots to former operators Nordair in the Eastern Arctic, and Pacific Western Airlines in the West. Wardair also maintained a significant Arctic presence during its existence.

In September 1998, Canadian North was renamed Air Norterra, whose ownership was divided equally among the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, representing the Inuvialuit people of the western Canadian Arctic, and Nunasi Corporation, representing the Inuit of Nunavut.

Logo used by the airline from 2003 to 2019

After utilizing three different livery schemes, the airline adopted its final pre-merger logo in 2003. Its logo displays three of the distinctive symbols of the North: the polar bear, the midnight sun and the Northern Lights. Canadian North's slogan was changed from "Your North. Your Airline" to "seriously northern" (all in lower-case), with advertising changed to reflect different aspects of the company (serious service, serious delivery, etc.).[8]

In June 2007, Canadian North began serving the Kitikmeot communities of Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, and Kugluktuk.[9] In April, 2008, flights began to seven communities in the Qikiqtaaluk Region (Baffin Region) of Nunavut.[10]

On 1 April 2014, the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC), representing the Inuvialuit of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, bought the 50% share of NorTerra held by Nunasi. This purchase of NorTerra gave the IDC complete control of Canadian North Northern Transportation Company and other companies that were jointly-held.[11][12] On 11 April 2014, Norterra and the Makivik Corporation, owners of First Air announced that they were in negotiations to merge the two airlines.[13][14] According to a website that had been set up on that same day, the new airline would be owned equally between the two companies and "a merger would create a stronger, more sustainable business, provide better service to customers and lead to new economic development opportunities across the North. We believe the two companies would complement each other's strengths."[15] In October, 2014, it was announced the merger would not go through,[16] but Canadian North would still codeshare on some flights with First Air until 16 May 2017.[17] On 23 February 2017, the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC) announced that arrangements had been concluded to transfer ownership of Canadian North directly into Inuvialuit Development Corporation.[18]

Canadian North Boeing 737 at Cambridge Bay Airport, Nunavut. The aircraft is still registered to Bradley Air Services but no longer in operation.

On 28 September 2018, Makivik Corporation and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) signed a definitive agreement to merge Canadian North and First Air, again awaiting government approval. The new airline would use the new First Air livery, but would operate under the name "Canadian North".[19] On 19 June 2019, the federal government gave approval to the merger provided several terms and conditions were met.[20]

On 1 November 2019, First Air and Canadian North completed the merger and combined schedules into one, using the code 5T, dropping First Air's 7F code as well as the name but keeping the livery.[21] In early 2021 the callsigns "First Air" and "Empress" were retired and the combined airline began operating as 5T/AKT, callsign "Arctic."

As of 18 December 2021, operations are now under the Canadian North name with a new livery.

Canadian North confirmed in December 2022 that they were to retire their last Boeing 737-200 by early 2023, replacing it with turboprop aircraft with similar gravel runway capabilities.[22] The aircraft made its last scheduled flight with passengers on 6 May 2023.[23]


As of 16 February 2024, Canadian North services 29 domestic scheduled destinations:[5]

Province/territory City Airport Notes
Alberta Edmonton Edmonton International Airport Southern gateway[7]
Manitoba Winnipeg Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
Northwest Territories Fort Simpson Fort Simpson Airport
Hay River Hay River/Merlyn Carter Airport
Inuvik Inuvik (Mike Zubko) Airport
Norman Wells Norman Wells Airport
Ulukhaktok Ulukhaktok/Holman Airport
Yellowknife Yellowknife Airport Hub
Nunavut Arctic Bay Arctic Bay Airport
Cambridge Bay Cambridge Bay Airport Focus city
Clyde River Clyde River Airport
Gjoa Haven Gjoa Haven Airport
Grise Fiord Grise Fiord Airport
Igloolik Igloolik Airport
Iqaluit Iqaluit Airport Hub
Kimmirut Kimmirut Airport
Kinngait Cape Dorset Airport
Kugaaruk Kugaaruk Airport
Kugluktuk Kugluktuk Airport
Pangnirtung Pangnirtung Airport
Pond Inlet Pond Inlet Airport
Qikiqtarjuaq Qikiqtarjuaq Airport
Rankin Inlet Rankin Inlet Airport
Resolute Resolute Bay Airport
Sanirajak Hall Beach Airport
Taloyoak Taloyoak Airport
Ontario Ottawa Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport Southern gateway[7]
Quebec Kuujjuaq Kuujjuaq Airport
Montreal Montréal–Trudeau International Airport Southern gateway[7]

Former destinations[edit]

A Canadian North Boeing 737-300 approaching Calgary International Airport
Province/territory City Airport Notes
Alberta Calgary Calgary International Airport Terminated[24]
Ontario Toronto Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminated[25]

Charter operations[edit]

Canadian North offers charters to anywhere, non-stop flights in continental North America[26] and maintain charter terminals at Calgary and Edmonton.[6]


Current fleet[edit]

Over time the registration of the fleet has moved from Canadian North to Bradley Air Services (First Air). As of March 2024, the fleet consists of 37 aircraft all registered to Bradley Air Services.[4][26][27]

Canadian North fleet
Aircraft No. of aircraft
Variants Notes
Aérospatiale ATR 42 13 300, 320, 500 Five ATR 42–300 series and two ATR 42–320 series combi aircraft, ice/gravel runway capable, six ATR 42-500, passenger only. All aircraft can take up to 42 passengers.
Aérospatiale ATR 72 2 ATR 72-212A Cargo variant
Boeing 737 1 200 series Combi aircraft, carried freight in addition to passengers. Up to 112 passengers, with no freight.[26] Still registered to Bradley Air Services. Aircraft is no longer in operation, after performing its last scheduled passenger flight 6 May 2023 before being sent to Edmonton.[22][23]
Boeing 737 Classic 12 300 series, 400 series Eight 300 series, 136 passengers, two Quick Change (QC) aircraft, combi, can be converted to freight. Three 400C combi aircraft 78 passengers, one 737-400 passenger only with 156 seats.
Boeing 737 Next Generation 9 700 series 134-141 passengers.
Total 37

Retired fleet[edit]

A former Canadian North De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Series 100. Pre-merger livery. The aircraft were retired in 2021

Aircraft previously operated include:[28]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Northwest Tower in Yellowknife, the former headquarters for the airline

The company headquarters are in Kanata, Ontario,[6] the former First Air HQ.

Canadian North had its headquarters in the Northwest Tower,[29][30] in downtown Yellowknife. They were later moved to the grounds of Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta but the airline kept its community and marketing support employees in Yellowknife. In addition it has regional offices in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. It also has an operations office in Edmonton, Alberta,[29] on the grounds of Edmonton International Airport.[31] Following the takeover by First Air, the former headquarters in Calgary was shut down and remaining management was transferred to Kanata.

Programs and services[edit]

In-flight entertainment video displays on a Canadian North flight

Canadian North in-flight service includes leather seating, advanced seat selection, free newspapers and magazines, and free colouring books and crayons for children.

The airline offers Aeroplan rewards points, both to collect and to redeem. Passengers may redeem Air Miles points for travel on Canadian North.[32][33] Canadian North has codeshare agreements with Air North and Calm Air.[34]

Canadian North also has its own "Aurora Concierge" and Aurora Rewards program for frequent travellers. Benefits of being an Aurora Concierge member include: Priority check-in, baggage, and boarding, extra piece of checked luggage, free alcoholic beverages, no fee changes, personalized membership card and baggage tag, and more.[35][36]

In 2005, the airline started offering a Pivut Fare ("ours") to beneficiaries of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.[37]


  1. ^ a b "ICAO Designators for Canadian Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services" (PDF). Nav Canada. 4 May 2023. p. 2. Retrieved 24 February 2023. Canadian North: AKT, ARCTIC
  2. ^ Transport Canada (18 December 2021), Civil Aviation Services (CAS) AOC.
  3. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Bradley Air Services". Transport Canada. Retrieved 9 March 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Flight Schedule". Canadian North. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d "General Contacts". 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "About Canadian North". 2019.
  8. ^ Who We Are
  9. ^ Canadian North Launches New Service to Four Kitikmeot Communities
  10. ^ Canadian North Launches New Service to Seven Baffin Communities
  11. ^ "Nunasi Corp. sells its stake in NorTerra, Canadian North". CBC. 1 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Nunasi Corp. sells its half of Norterra to the Inuvialuit". Nunatsiaq News. 1 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Canadian North, First Air plan 'merger of equals'". CBC. 11 April 2014.
  14. ^ Rogers, Sarah (11 April 2014). "Arctic airlines First Air and Canadian North talk merger". Nunatsiaq News.
  15. ^ Canada’s Northern Airlines Enter Merger Discussions
  16. ^ "Airlines announce First Air-Canadian North merger is dead". Nunatsiaq News. 23 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Codeshare kaput: First Air ends flight sharing deal with Canadian North". Nunatsiaq News. 18 November 2016.
  18. ^ Media Announcement
  19. ^ "New milestone agreement reached to merge First Air and Canadian North to better serve Pan-Arctic communities". Inuvialuit Corporate Group.
  20. ^ Murray, Nick (19 June 2019). "Federal government approves Canadian North and First Air merger". CBC.
  21. ^ Our History
  22. ^ a b "Canadian North to retire last B737-200 in early 2Q2". 13 December 2022. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Canadian North retires last B737-200(C)". 9 May 2023. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  24. ^ Williams, Ollie (1 June 2023). "Canadian North scraps Yellowknife-Calgary route after just four months". Cabin Radio. Retrieved 12 October 2023.
  25. ^ Venn, David (19 August 2022). "Canadian North's Toronto-Iqaluit direct flights cancelled nearly a month early". Nunatsiaq News. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  26. ^ a b c "Charters by Canadian North - Our Fleet". Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  27. ^ "Our Fleet". Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  28. ^ Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: History Search Result
  29. ^ a b "Administration". Canadian North. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2011. Head Office - Calgary 200, 580 Palmer Road N.E. Calgary, AB T2E 7R3 Canada" and "Regional Head Office - Iqaluit P.O. Box 70 Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0 Canada" and "Regional Office - Yellowknife 202 Nunasi Building, 5109 48th St. Yellowknife, NT X1A 1N5 Canada" and "Operations Office - Edmonton 101 – 3731 52 Avenue East Edmonton AB T9E 0V4 Canada
  30. ^ "Directory Information". Government of the Northwest Territories. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011. NT Northwest Tower 5201 – 50 Ave
  31. ^ "Pre-Kearl Welcome Letter" (PDF). Boilermakers Local 146 (Boilermakers Union). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  32. ^ Aeroplan
  33. ^ Welcome aboard your NEW Canadian North
  34. ^ Route Map
  35. ^ Aurora Rewards
  36. ^ Aurora Concierge
  37. ^ "Pivut Fares". Canadian North. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2020.

External links[edit]