North Spirit Lake FN Signs On with North Star Air and Cargo North

Cargo North Basler Bt-67 - From the outside it looks like a DC-3 but inside it is modern, fast and comfortable
Northstar Air Basler Bt-67 - From the outside it looks like a DC-3 but inside it is modern, fast and comfortable
Passengers embark on First Cargo North Charter passenger service on the Basler
Passengers embark on First Cargo North Charter passenger service on the Basler

THUNDER BAY – AVIATION – North Star Air announced today that they have signed a strategic business agreement with North Spirit Lake First Nation. North Spirit Lake has now joined with the other partners that include Muskrat Dam, Sachigo Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Neskantaga, Kashechewan, North Caribou Lake, Bearskin Lake, Poplar Hill and Webequie.

Chief Caroline Keesic stated, “We are pleased to sign on with North Star Air and Cargo North. Not only will we benefit as an overall community through the revenue sharing agreement but equally important is that community members especially our elders and medical patients will have another airline that provides better services”

Air transportation services are a vital link for the north and such services span from commercial supply chains to passenger services. Today the demands of the north are changing and there is a growing focus and emphasis on partnering with an airline that brings forth cost-effective air transportation solutions for the delivery of goods and services.

A key differentiation and game changer for the north, is North Star Air’s Basler BT-67 that is the most competitive and reliable aircraft specifically designed to service the challenging conditions of the north. It also has the capability to be configured for both passenger and cargo transportation making it more efficient and cost-effective for those requiring to transport both passengers and cargo at the same time. Some examples include businesses needing to move both passengers and cargo to a job site or maybe a hockey team along with all their equipment traveling to a tournament.

With the growing and changing demands of the north, many First Nation communities are very receptive to adopting new business models and partners while other communities are less receptive. Opening up the skies of the north creates a competitive business environment that brings many benefits to the communities at large as well as to the community members.

With energy rates increasing, national food prices spiking, poor housing quality and high unemployment rates, ensuring a stable air transport provider for the supply chain translates into a positive economic impact for the north. The introduction of competition also means other airlines will now have to compete on fares and service levels thus providing passengers with better fares, improved service and more choices and options. These are very welcome benefits for community members.

Many communities are becoming more cost sensitive to services and are looking for alternate solutions that provide equivalent or better services at more competitive prices. Many First Nations communities are pursuing economic and business opportunities and generating their own sources of revenue as a means to becoming economically independent. Self-governing means the authority comes from the people. Creating a prosperous environment that represents the best interest of the people is also very reliant on the responsibility of all levels of governing bodies to ensure transparency and accountability when it comes to the spending of all public funds. The community members are ultimately the consumers who pay for the services.

Another interesting benefit that will result from opening up the skies to competition is that it will drive accountability which is necessary for economic growth as it will  attract new business opportunities from emerging markets such as transportation, infrastructure, food and utilities, and from natural resource development sectors to help diversify and boost local economies.

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 with the revenue sharing agreement for the purpose of investing back into the local community and path to ownership. 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 CN & NSA says, “We welcome North Spirit Lake to this partnership and opening up the skies in the north to more competition will prove to be a decision that will benefit both the social and economic development of all communities”

North Spirit Lake
North Spirit Lake has a registered population of 489 people. The First Nation is part of Keewaytinook Okimakanak with it primary affiliation to Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. The community is located approximately 170 kilometers north east of Red Lake, Ontario. Access to North Spirit Lake 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. North Spirit Lake airport is located approximately 9.3 kilometers to the main community. Access to airport and North Spirit Lake is by air, gravel road and winter road.

North Star Air
Beginning in 1997 as a floatplane service North Star Air has steadily evolved its service capabilities and transformed its fleet and in 2012 they underwent new ownership changes. Today, North Star Air and Cargo North are merging into one airline to enhance their solutions and services. North Star Air is one of the leading Northern Ontario full-service airlines with bases and locations in Pickle Lake, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout Thunder Bay and Kapuskasing. As a leading provider of charter, passenger and freight/cargo services they make it their passion and commitment to safety, affordability and reliability. They are well positioned and ready to service the growing demands of the businesses, industries and communities of Northern Ontario and beyond. Their mission is to connect Northern Ontario communities and their vision is to provide the best possible customer experience throughout their entire journey.

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