West Wind Aviation (WEW, Saskatoon) and Transwest Air (4T, Prince Albert) have announced their rebranding as Rise Air (4T, Saskatoon), following their consolidation as one airline.

West Wind Group of Companies acting chief executive Stephen Smith said this followed the purchase in 2016 of Transwest Air by West Wind, resulting in one airline, now operating on the Transwest Air Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).

West Wind was now simply the owner of Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, doing business as Rise Air. There are no operations under the West Wind name.

Explaining the motivation for the acquisition, he said the airlines had been competing head-to-head, neither making any money and that their consolidation would hopefully bring some “sanity into the market”. He believed neither would have survived the COVID-19 crisis had they not merged. With a 50% reduction in workforce, the airline was now rightsized for the market, he said.

The new name represented progress and positivity. “We’re moving forward in a positive direction, rising to the top,” he said. ‘We’re taking two very good airlines and making one great one.” The airline chose the new name and logo from employee submissions.

The rebranding of flights and aircraft would happen over time, reflecting “Rise Air operated by Transwest Air”.

Smith also announced an employee profit-sharing programme that would pay out a percentage of the company’s net income to employees annually, assuming it surpassed thresholds. This would mean a CAD1,700 (USD1,383) average pay-out to each employee annually if the airline hit its budget net income in 2021.

Smith also announced Derek Nice as the new President and chief executive of Rise Air. Nice is the former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu (NF, Port Vila); Chief Executive Officer of Consilium Technica; and Chief Restructuring Officer of Pascan Aviation (P6, Montréal St. Hubert).