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Inuit-led merger of First Air and Canadian North airlines receives regulatory approval

Press Release
Merger to create sustainable airline dedicated to serving Canada’s Northern regions

OTTAWA, June 19, 2019 – Makivik Corporation (Makivik) and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) today announced they have received all regulatory approvals to merge First Air and Canadian North in order to provide the best possible air services across the Arctic.

This milestone represents a victory for all Northerners, as the ownership groups have worked diligently over many years within Arctic communities, in consultation with Inuit and other stakeholders, and alongside territorial and federal governments to develop a clear, realistic plan for a strong, sustainable Northern airline.

“This is good news,” said Charlie Watt Sr., Makivik President. “In 1990 we bought a troubled airline, First Air, and made it sustainable. At the time, we promised to create an airline owned by all of the Inuit of Canada and we are now much closer to making that a reality.”

Travellers can be confident that there will be no degradation in service during the merger process, nor following its completion. The parties are committed to ensuring that the merger creates a sustainable airline which provides exceptional customer experience at the best possible prices.

“We are following through on our commitment to act in the best interest of all Northerners,” said Duane Smith, Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). “By optimizing the Northern air transportation corridor, we are making significant progress in empowering Inuit to become meaningful participants in both the Northern and national economies.”

The new, Pan-Arctic airline will operate under the name “Canadian North” and aircraft will use the First Air livery, featuring its Inukshuk logo. Headquarters for the merged airline will be located in Ottawa.

The parties are committed to keeping customers up-to-date on all developments related to the merger and its operations on an ongoing basis. Whether before or after the merger, both First Air and Canadian North will continue providing Northerners with access to safe, friendly and reliable air travel services across the Arctic.

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Media contacts:
William Tagoona, Communications Director, Makivik Corporation, (819) 964-2925, wtagoona@makivik.org;

Mark Fleming, Chief Financial Officer, Inuvialuit Corporate Group, (867) 678-5429, MFleming@inuvialuit.com