Canadian North (5T, Yellowknife) has announced it will forthwith operate under a single Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), representing a significant milestone towards finalising its merger with fellow North Canadian carrier First Air (7F, Carp).

This follows the launch of a unified brand under Canadian North, flight schedule, and reservations system in November 2019 between the two airlines.

However, for the past 18 months, Canadian North’s network has still operated across the AOCs of both Canadian North and First Air. “The unification of operations under a single AOC is a significant milestone, allowing Canadian North to serve its customers with a fully harmonised set of operating procedures and protocols,” the airline announced in a statement.

Along with one AOC, the carrier is also adopting a new call sign, "ARCTIC", and a three-letter ICAO designator, "AKT", for all flights. Call signs EMPRESS and FIRST AIR will be retired. “The ARCTIC call sign is a reminder of the rich history of aviation in the Arctic, the part each legacy organisation has played in the past, and the role that Canadian North will continue to play in the future: providing an essential service to communities,“ the airline said.

The Canadian government in June 2019 approved the merger between First Air and Canadian North, at the time the primary air carriers serving Canada’s North. This followed an agreement in 2018 between the airline’s shareholders, the 100% Inuit owned Makivik Corporation (the legal representative of Quebec's Inuit) and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC), to merge the carriers to create a sustainable Pan-Arctic airline. The parties in July 2019 announced they had completed the transaction for the merger.

Canadian North operates to 26 destinations within the Northwest Territories, Nunavik, and Nunavut, from its southern gateways of Ottawa Int'l, Montréal Trudeau, and Edmonton Int'l, using a fleet of eight B737-300s, two B737-200(C)s, two B737-300(QC)s. Prior to consolidation, it had also wet-leased three ATR42-300s, three ATR42-300(QC)s, six ATR42-500s, one B737-400, and three B737-400(C)s from First Air according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.

It also provides charter services across North America and beyond for sports teams, cruise lines, tour operators, and other large groups.

President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Avery, remarked: “The storied history of Canadian North and First Air is rich and admirable. With this respect of our past firmly in my mind, I am looking forward to our future together under the call sign “ARCTIC”. I am encouraged and impressed every day with all that our employees are doing to deliver for customers across Canada that are counting on us. We are creating new history.”