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Canadian North

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Canadian North revamps its fleet
New passenger jets and passenger-cargo combination aircraft in the works

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 25, 2013

Leather interiors and an in-flight entertainment system will soon be the reality for Nunavummiut flying on Canadian North, as the airline is replacing its fleet.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Boeing 737-300 aircraft will replace some of Canadian North's 737-200 aircraft, adding more passenger and cargo capacity to its fleet. - photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Six new Boeing 737-300s will come into service this July, replacing the smaller 737-200s, confirmed Canadian North president Steve Hankirk. Pending board of director approval, he said the company plans to buy four 737-300 combi aircraft, meaning the front of the plane will carry cargo while the rest will be for passengers.

"If all the approvals fall into place, which I expect they will, the first aircraft (combi) will be into service in November this year and it will be on the Ottawa-Iqaluit route," he said, describing the purchase of 737-300 combi aircraft as a "huge step."

The company began updating its fleet about two-and-a-half years ago, he added.

"These aircraft are just quite a bit more fuel efficient," said Hankirk. "They have leather interiors. And they're going to have an entertainment system in the aircraft. There is more passenger and cargo capacity; about 22 per cent more than the current 737-200."

The company will keep three 737-200s to be able to land on gravel runways, something the newer planes won't be able to do because of the size of their engines, explained Hankirk. The other 200s will be phased out while the four new combi aircraft will replace the four 200-combi aircrafts, which are more than 25 years old.

Cindy Twerdin of Canadian North informed the Baffin mayors of the company's fleet replacement plans during the mayor's forum on March 7.

Iglulik Mayor Paul Haulli said the issue of the new planes being unable to land on gravel runways did not come up.

"We had a very good reaction. They want to try to improve their service, plus they said they are going to be getting better planes so we were very happy," he said.

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