Canadian North (5T, Yellowknife) President Steve Hankirk says the carrier is planning to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) for an additional Dash 8-100 as it prepares for its future beyond its partnership with First Air (Carp) which will end on May 16, 2017.

Speaking to CBC Canada, Hankirk said First Air's announcement last month that it would dissolve its codeshare agreement with Canadian North had blindsided both him and his firm.

"I don't know why they changed their mind, it makes no sense to me at all," he said. "From an economics standpoint, from a scheduling standpoint. I've been quiet for a couple of weeks for a reason, I didn't have a plan. I have a plan now."

Aside from the added Q100 which will service Eastern Nunavut, Canadian North is also moving ahead with plans to introduce another B737-300 in combi configuration to its Iqaluit-Ottawa International route by January. In addition, services to remote communities such as Pangnirtung, Clyde River, Broughton Island, and Pond Inlet, which were suspended on the codeshare's inception, will also be resumed.

Canadian North currently operates a fleet of five B737-200Advs (including one freighter), ten B737-300s (including one Combi aircraft), and two Q100s. Of the fifteen towns and cities it serves across Canada's remote northern regions, it codeshares with First Air on flights from Yellowknife to each of Cambridge Bay, Edmonton International, Inuvik, Iqaluit, Kuglutuk/Coppermine, Norman Wells, and Rankin Inlet.

For its part, First Air expects its fleet of six ATR42-500s to be fully operational in early 2017, thus fully separating the airline’s passenger service from its cargo business.