We were founded in 1977, by Joe Sparling and Tom Wood, as Air North Charter and Training. Joe and Tom's original intent is right there in the name - we were to offer charter flights to the mining industry and flight training services - but it didn't take long for us to grow beyond that original vision.
By the early 1980s, our fleet had grown from a single Cessna 206 to include a variety of aircraft on wheels, floats, and skis - until we acquired the famous and world-tested Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 aircraft. It's then that the time was right to begin offering scheduled flights within the Yukon, and into Alaska.
Just over ten years later, two important changes began: we retired the Douglas aircraft in favour of Hawker Siddeley 748 turboprops, and the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation of Old Crow expressed an interest in investing in Air North. The investment from the Vuntut Gwitchin made it possible a few years later, in 2002, for us to enter a whole new era: we purchased two Boeing 737 jets.
On June 2002, we began flying between Whitehorse and Vancouver, and also connected the Yukon with Alberta with our flights to Calgary and Edmonton. Our growth was mirrored in new branding, as we adopted our current operating name of Air North, Yukon's Airline.
Since then, we've bought more aircraft and modernized our fleet with Boeing 737-400 and -500 jets, and expanded our route network to include Kelowna, in 2013, and an ambitious new flight connecting Whitehorse with Yellowknife and Ottawa in 2014. The new route has won praise from our passengers for our attention to detail, service, and in-flight meals.
Much of what we serve on our flights is made fresh by our Whitehorse-based flight kitchen. Our talented team work hard every day to serve special treats in-flight.
We're an airline that invites you to expect something more-especially the unexpected. Did you know that our President and co-founder, Joe Sparling, is one of our Boeing 737 captains? Also, we're one of the largest employers in the Yukon Territory, with over 250 full and part-time employees - in addition to the more than 250 full and part-time employees who work in our Vancouver base, providing above and below the wing services for some of the world's biggest airlines in addition to our own flights.
One in fifteen Yukoners, including the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, hold an equity or employment stake in our airline.
Air North Board of Directors
Joseph Sparling President
Greg Charlie Vice President
Murray Leitch Vice President
Pauline Frost Director
Tom Wood Director
Vuntut Development Corporation
The Vuntut Development Corporation (VDC) is the economic arm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. It is a for-profit company that owns a significant interest in Air North, a road and quarry construction company, several real estate holdings in Old Crow and Whitehorse, and an exciting eco-adventure company that provides for world class grizzly bear viewing opportunities in the northern Yukon.
VDC aims to balance economic development and the natural environment while respecting the traditional lifestyle and culture of the Vuntut Gwitchin. Its goal is to play a major role in the creation of a diversified, balanced, and sustainable economy in the North Yukon, an economy that provides prosperity and certainty for the future for all Vuntut Gwitchin. VDC also is a major sponsor of cultural, recreational, social, and environmental initiatives throughout the Yukon.
Our number one corporate priority at Air North is to maximize safety and to minimize the risk of accident or incident in every aspect of our operation. Our Safety Management System involves all company employees and the Safety Officer is accountable directly to the President and CEO.
Our second corporate priority is, quite simply, to respect the interests of our stakeholders, who are:
With respect to our customers, we strive to provide friendly and helpful service, with a personal touch, at a fair price. We operate in a relatively small community and in an extremely small market. Many of us know many of our customers personally. This is our competitive edge in the market and the way in which we differentiate our product from others. It does not cost anything to be nice. While we are not technically a public company, our performance is very visible in our small community.
With respect to our employees, it is our goal to attract and keep competent and company minded employees. Our management style, starting at the top, is to be very hands on. We endeavor to lead by example. We are very proud of our strong team of employees and we are particularly pleased to note that our turnover is extremely low.
With respect to our shareholders, it is important to note that for many, the maximization of profit is not the number one priority. The VGFN investment in the company was strategic. While it was a business decision, there are other factors which are important to the citizens of Old Crow. Air service is a lifeline to the community and its residents are always very concerned with service and pricing. Employment opportunities are also a consideration for the VGFN. Our Class C shareholders did not purchase growth shares. While they want to see their company succeed they are also keenly interested in service and pricing issues. The interests represented by our shareholders require Air North to maintain a balance between profitability and community interests.
The foregoing sets forth the vision/strategy that the Board of Directors has adopted for the operation of the airline.
Air North, Yukon's Airline is not currently offering investment shares.