Arctic Co-ops and Chrono Aviation announce new cargo flight to Iqaluit

‘Instead of having bananas arrive once a week, they arrive twice a week,’ says VP Duane Wilson

The Boeing 737-800 SFs will start flying from Winnipeg to Iqaluit in early 2022. (Photo courtesy of CNW Group/Chrono Aviation)

By David Lochead

Arctic Co-operatives says some of its Nunavut customers can expect to find fresher produce in the new year, thanks to the acquisition of a new cargo plane.

Chrono Aviation, which is partly owned by Arctic Co-ops, will begin flying Canada’s first Boeing 737-800 SF freighter aircraft from Winnipeg to Iqaluit twice a week, starting early 2022.

The new plane carries about half as much freight as the Boeing 767-300, currently used by Cargojet to deliver cargo, said Duane Wilson, Arctic Co-ops’ vice-president of stakeholder relations.

Because it’s a newer, more efficient plane, it can fly cargo to Nunavut more frequently without a significant price increase for the goods shipped.

“Instead of having bananas arrive once a week, they arrive twice a week,” Wilson said.

“From a flexibility perspective, we’re going to have better results shipping half as much twice as often.”

The Boeing 737-800 can transport up to 52,000 pounds of cargo, according to a news release from Chrono Aviation. The new plane also emits 20 per cent less emissions per tonne of cargo compared to previous models.

If there is demand for more Boeing 737-800 SF cargo planes, Arctic Co-ops will look into acquiring more, Wilson said.

Chrono Aviation is a Quebec-based aviation company with a fleet of 15 aircrafts. In February, Arctic Co-ops announced it was making a “significant investment” in the company. In 2019, Chrono secured a contract to provide air transport services to Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine.

Another advantage to the smaller cargo plane is its ability to land and maneuver on shorter airstrips, Wilson said.

When Arctic Co-ops was flying bottled water to Iqaluit to help with the city’s water emergency, one flight took longer than expected because a large plane could not turn on Val d’Or’s small runway, he said.

“So with an aircraft like [the Boeing 737-800 SF], which doesn’t need the same turning radius as wide-bodied [aircraft] we could have done that type of lift to Iqaluit faster and probably cheaper because an airport like Val d’Or was an option,” Wilson said.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by So, more expensive? on

    So the main takeaway here is that they’re running a plane twice as often for the same amount of food and prices are going UP?
    “…it can fly cargo to Nunavut more frequently without a significant price increase for the goods shipped.” If things weren’t going up, they would have left out the word “significant”.

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    • Posted by Donkey Kong on

      Actually the take away I understand is more bananas for Iqaluit…twice a week!!!!

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Good news if you are a fan of bananas

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  2. Posted by How much is this benifiting Community owned Co-ops? on

    This seems like it will only benefit Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet. So why are the local Co-ops supporting the purchase of an aircraft that cannot even go to their community? This also seems like it will have a greater impact on the environment if it takes twice as many trips compared to the Cargojet plane. What is really troubling as it seems getting into the airline business is just a way for Arctic Co-ops in Winnipeg to suck more fees and expenses from the local member Co-ops. Its time to start holding Winnipeg accountable to the community Co-ops this has limited benefit for our community.

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    • Posted by I live in the Arctic on

      thank you, well said.

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    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      It will likely also mean more frequent cargo deliveries further along the chain as both Rankin and Iqaluit are hubs for their regions.

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      • Posted by In the end this is no change on

        This only replaces their once a week cargojet from Winnipeg to Iqaluit. The frieght to the communities still goes on Canadian North. Fuel efficiency… Sure 2 737s a week is more efficient fuel then 1 767 ya ok

        • Posted by erm on

          I can see it. How much food is chucked due to spoilage is significant. Items like fresh produce, meat and milk is difficult to manage as a single weekly delivery rather than two smaller deliveries. Additionally that 767-300 isnt necessarily full each time. 737-800 are very new and fuel efficient.

  3. Posted by Akudnirmiuta on

    Food Mail Program to Nutrition North all over again, at first Nutrition North sounded great, but it turned 180

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  4. Posted by Augmented on

    So as a life member and a shareholder of Arctic Co-ops and a lot of others all over Nunavut, do we have access to the aircraft for our community as well ? Seems like our dividends are going to make more things costly as for sure they use up whatever they breakdown from us spending millions! Like it will make it any cheaper for Nunavut consumers
    Too much money to play with .

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    • Posted by Coops on

      The purpose of a co-op is to reduce costs for its memeber not give huge dividends. If you coop is giving big dividens they are mismanaged or the board just wants to keep getting elected. The big dividens are really just a trick where they make you pay more and give it back. I guess for people that can’t save it’s nice to get a cheque before Christmas..

  5. Posted by Prospector’s Beard on

    While people complain about rising food costs down south, everyone up here is going bananas! BANANAS!

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    • Posted by delbert on

      Well if Northern can have their own plane so can the Co-op. That’s how it looks.

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