Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 09, 2018 - 8:09 am

Qikiqtaaluk Corp. talks to Makivik, IRC about buying into merged airline

"It’s important for any Nunavut organization to have equity in this merger"

SARAH ROGERS
The new airline is set to operate under Canadian North’s name, while using First Air’s livery, and would be headquartered in Ottawa. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAKIVIK CORP)
The new airline is set to operate under Canadian North’s name, while using First Air’s livery, and would be headquartered in Ottawa. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAKIVIK CORP)

The business arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association says it’s in talks with Makivik Corp. and the Inuvialuit Regional Corp. to potentially buy a stake in their proposed merger of First Air and Canadian North.

After years of negotiations, Makivik’s First Air and the IRC’s Canadian North signed an agreement on Sept. 28 that will see the two airlines become one.

From the get-go, the leadership behind the merger has expressed interest in bringing in a Nunavut partner, given the presence of both airlines in the territory.

“Qikiqtaaluk Corp. has always been interested in airline services in our region,” said its president, Harry Flaherty. “Our only means of transportation are by air and sea.”

“We were approached by Makivik to see if we’d be interested. So we are doing our due diligence to see how QC could be involved,” Flaherty said.

“We’re looking at our options [to see if] it makes good business sense.”

Qikiqtaaluk Corp. already has a partnership with First Air through Qikiqtaaluk First Aviation Ltd. (QFAL), though it hasn’t been very active in recent years.

QFAL’s listing on the Government of Nunavut’s page for the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti or NNI has expired.

The NNI policy is the GN’s tool for complying with Article 24 of the Nunavut Agreement, which says governments must help Inuit-owned businesses in the Nunavut settlement area win government contracts.

The NNI system works by providing a competitive advantage to Nunavut-owned and Inuit-owned businesses.

But Flaherty said its partnership with First Air is still in place for a medical travel contract in the region.

Given the essential nature of air travel and the limited options that Nunavut air travellers have, Flaherty said it’s crucial for the territory to have a say in the new airline.

“I think it’s very important,” he said. “I think it’s important for any Nunavut organization to have equity in this merger.”

But Flaherty said Qikiqtaaluk Corp. and its subsidiary airline venture will first wait to ensure that the new airline gets all the needed regulatory approvals.

The Competition Bureau has confirmed it will be reviewing the new venture, as required under the federal Competitor’s Act.

The Government of Nunavut has said it plans to weigh in on that review.

The transaction to create the new airline is expected to be complete by the end of 2018; in the meantime, the two airlines will continue to operate independently.

The new airline is set to operate under Canadian North’s name, while using First Air’s livery, and would be headquartered in Ottawa.

The new venture has yet to announce details on how routes, schedules and staffing will be affected by the merger, although the partners are already pledging better time-of-day options and better connectivity.

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(5) Comments:

#1. Posted by Another mouth to feed on October 09, 2018

Hopefully the RIAs will try and keep prices in check instead of simply being another “thumb in the pie”...

#2. Posted by pissed off on October 09, 2018

``Though it has not been very active in recent years``

Mr. Flaherty is more or less admitting that the `` partnerships`` are quite loosy goosy and are only important when the time comes for a big Government contract. Otherwise you would have a real business unit operating and not only when it suits the opportunity to skim a bit more money out of the Gov. Not to mention that that the Gov likes those deals because it puts the spending in the `` right`` column and statistics.and makes the whole thing ( read propaganda)look good.
THanks

#3. Posted by Tim on October 10, 2018

Remember a few years ago when Nunavut co-owned an airline, how things change and Nunavut is left outside and looking in.

#4. Posted by Nunavummiut on October 10, 2018

QC, KC, and Sakku should just buy Air Nunavut and grow as a competitor and eventually getting the GN contract for all its travel needs as a truly Nunavut airline.

#5. Posted by Ham on October 10, 2018

Why did Nunavut sell it’s shares? Who decided that?

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