Two Canadian carriers, both with significant cargo operations, are in merger negotiations. First Air and Canadian North both specialize in serving the remote northern part of the country, and both have main-deck freight operations. The merger, assuming the two companies agree to go ahead with it, would be subject to review by Canadian regulatory authorities, and is therefore not likely to complete until late this year.
- First Air (owned by Makivik Corp) operates one 767-200F, two L382G Hercules, and one ATR 72F, as well as two 737‑400s and one 737-200 in combi configuration, and six ATR 42s and one ATR 72 in QC configuration. On the passenger side, it operates one 737-400, four 737-200s, and three ATR 42s.
- Canadian North (owned by NorTerra Inc) operates four 737-200s in combi configuration, but is believed to be considering the acquisition of full freighters – likely 737-300Fs. It also operates eight 737-300s and three 737-200s in pax configuration, as well as four Dash 8 turboprops.
While neither of these carriers is very big by international standards, the merger is significant from a cargo perspective because the area they serve — northern Canada — is huge and there are no road or rail transport options for most of it. Movement of goods has to be by air.
The two carriers have set up a website with news of the merger: www.newnorthernairline.com