Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut April 04, 2013 - 7:26 am

Canadian North upgrades its fleet

Four new combi aircraft to be added by December

PETER VARGA
Canadian North plans to add four new Boeing 737-300 passenger-cargo planes like this one to its fleet by December 2013. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Canadian North plans to add four new Boeing 737-300 passenger-cargo planes like this one to its fleet by December 2013. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Canadian North’s new combi jets will feature entertainment systems typical to passenger aircraft, including overhead video screens. (HANDOUT PHOTOS)
Canadian North’s new combi jets will feature entertainment systems typical to passenger aircraft, including overhead video screens. (HANDOUT PHOTOS)

Canadian North plans to upgrade its fleet of passenger-cargo aircraft, to include four new jets featuring entertainment systems and leather seating.

The new aircraft will be put into service late this year.

In a purchase approved by the company’s board at the end of March, Canadian North decided to buy the new Boeing 737-300s.

The jets have 22 per cent more capacity, seating up to 136 passengers and be more fuel-efficient, said Canadian North’s president Steve Hankirk.

The new planes will replace part of the airline’s aging fleet of 737-200 passenger-cargo “combi” aircraft as part of an upgrade program started two years ago.

Each plane will be modified for use as passenger-cargo aircraft this summer by Kelowna Flightcraft in British Columbia.

The older planes will not phased out completely.

The new 300 “is not capable going on gravel strips, so we will keep a couple of 200 combis around just for places like Alert and Resolute Bay, and Cambridge Bay,” Hankirk said, referring to airports with gravel runways.  “We’ll phase out the majority of our 200s in this program. But two or three will be kept in service.”

The new planes will add to six passenger 737-300s already in service, which are late 1990s models. The conversion of the newer planes to combis marks a first in Canada, said Hankirk, and typical passenger-plane features will be retained.

A basic onboard entertainment system will include 13 vido monitors down the length of the aisles.

“We’ll play first-run movies for passengers and there’ll be music to listen to as well,” said Hankirk.

The planes will run on Canadian North’s long haul routes extending from Edmonton to Inuvik and Edmonton to Ottawa, which includes the Iqaluit-Ottawa route.

Beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, spouses and children can travel the airline’s routes with unlimited Pivut fare discounts, as of this month.

Pivut fares, which offer discounts of at least 65 per cent off, are no longer limited to three fares per year.

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