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Proposal stage about to begin in GN’s Airline Procurement Strategy

After many months of structuring how it will proceed with its Airline Procurement Strategy, the Government of Nunavut will issue a request for proposals (RFP) this month in hopes of attracting airline interest.

Canadian North, which is proposing to merge with First Air, is one of the airlines that the GN has had preliminary discussions with as the territorial government proceeds with its Airline Procurement Strategy. Brian Tattuinee photo

The GN is seeking carriers to serve Nunavut's three regions separately for scheduled passenger – including medical and duty travel – and cargo services, with an aim to reduce costs.

To date, the government has had discussions with Air Canada, WestJet, Flair Air, Summit Airlines, Air North, First Air, Canadian North, Calm Air, Avmax/Binder/Regional 1 Airlines, Keewatin Air, Kenn Borek, Nolinor and Sarvaq, according to Mark McCulloch, senior manager of procurement and logistics with the Department of Community and Government Services.

First Air and Canadian North have formally proposed to merge their operations. Representatives of Air Canada, WestJet, Flair Air, Air North told Nunavut News that their companies have no interest in serving the Nunavut market. Calm Air and Nolinor officials said they don't intend to expand existing endeavours in Nunavut in the near future.

Airlines are expected to be awarded contracts in late spring, following the RFP process, McCulloch stated.

If there's limited interest in any region, "the GN reserves the right to negotiate with the proponents to reach the best solution for the GN and all Nunavummiut," he stated.

Lufthansa Consulting, based in Germany, was awarded the $698,000 contract in September 2017 to study options and make recommendations to the GN.