THUNDER BAY – Poplar Hill and Kashechewan First Nations have announced they have signed a strategic business agreement with North Star Air and its affiliate Cargo North. Poplar Hill and Kashechewan has now joined with the other partners that include Muskrat Dam, Sachigo Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Neskantaga, North Caribou Lake and Bearskin Lake First Nations.
This brings a total of nine First Nations communities which have now partnered with both airlines.
“It is a good move for Poplar Hill to be part of this economic initiative and establishing business agreements is key to enabling our vision of being self-sufficient. Providing an alternate air transportation services will prove to be beneficial for the community” says Chief Alice L. Suggashie, Poplar Hill.
“One of the community’s priorities is to seize opportunities to secure a brighter future for our people, our children and future generations, says Chief Derek Stephen, Kashechewan. “”The window of opportunity is shrinking as there is a limited number of communities that can participate in this venture with Cargo North and North Star Air and we did not want to miss out on such an opportunity so we decided that today was the right time to sign this agreement that will play a critical role in shaping our vision.”
In today’s marketplace, the community dynamics focuses on fiscal responsibility to create a competitive environment for their local economy that will translate into more choices and better cost effective air transport solutions to service passenger, freight and fuel needs. Opening up the local market to another air service provider reduces the security supply risk within their existing supply chains. Of utmost importance for the communities is to play an active decision making role with all the key stakeholders who have an interest in the emerging markets, natural and resource developments, infrastructure opportunities, communication technologies, food and grocery, utilities, air cargo and new opportunities including business ownership opportunities that are surfacing within their region.
Air transportation services are a vital link for the First Nations overall strategic plan to self-determination and these First Nations communities have made a strategic business decision to partner with North Star Air and Cargo North to enable more efficient access to essential lifelines. This decision was also made on the basis of their cost-effective air transportation solution that includes the Basler BT-67 as part of their fleet and it is the most competitive, and reliable cargo aircraft to service the growing demands and challenging conditions of the North.
Connecting people, businesses and communities is what North Star Air and Cargo North do best but most importantly they are fully committed to contributing back to the communities. North Star Air and Cargo North stand behind their commitment of a revenue sharing agreement for the purpose of investing back into the local community. The revenue sharing agreement extends across all of North Star Air and Cargo North’s air transportation services that include passenger, charter, cargo/freight and fuel. Ensuring the best possible customer experience is driven by their core values of safety, affordability and reliability.
Frank Kelner, CEO of North Star Air and Cargo North says, “We are very pleased with this announcement and we are committed to working with all these 9 First Nations to service the growth in the North with our cost effective air transportation solutions and revenue sharing investment model.”
North Star Air
Beginning in 1997 as a floatplane service North Star Air has steadily evolved its service capabilities and transformed its fleet. In 2012 new ownership was acquired and today, North Star Air is one of the leading Northern Ontario full-service airlines. As a leading provider of charter, passenger and freight/cargo services they make it their passion and commitment to safety, affordability and reliability. Their mission is to connect Northern Ontario communities and their vision is to provide the best possible customer experience throughout their entire journey. Integrity is at the cornerstone of their core values as they continue to drive for excellence
Northern Ontario’s Cargo North is led by some of the most seasoned professional aviation experts in the north. Our promise to you is that we have the experience, the capability and “the capacity to deliver” any payload, anytime, anywhere. No matter what the challenge, Cargo North is primed and ready to service the unique demands of the businesses, industries and communities of Northern Ontario and beyond.
Poplar Hill First Nation
Poplar Hill has a registered population of 598 people. The First Nation is part of Keewaytinook Okimakanak with it primary affiliation to Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. The community is located approximately 120 kilometers north of Red Lake, Ontario near the Ontario-Manitoba border. Access to Poplar Hill is provided by a year round airport which is operated by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communication. Regular air service is available to the regional centers of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Poplar Hill airport is located approximately 1.1 kilometers to the main community. Access to airport and Poplar Hill is by air, gravel road and winter road.
Kashechewan First Nation
Kashechewan has an on-reserve population of 1,500 residents. The First Nation is part of Mushkegowuk Council with it primary affiliation to Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. The community is located on the north shore of the Albany River approximately 450 kilometers north of Timmins, Ontario. Access to Kashechewan is provided by a year round airport which is operated by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communication. Regular air service is available to the regional center of Timmins. Kashechewan airport is located approximately 1.3 kilometers to the main community. Access to airport and Kashechewan is by air, gravel road, boat and ice road/winter road.