Auyuittuq Aviation Initiates Rotary And Fixed Wing Service On Baffin Island


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Auyuittuq Aviation Initiates Rotary And Fixed Wing Service On Baffin Island

By Daniel Baxter

October 4, 2011 - Discovery Air Inc. subsidiaries Air Tindi Ltd. and Great Slave Helicopters Ltd. have formed a new partnership – Auyuittuq Aviation – with a group of Inuit shareholders from the Kivalliq and Baffin regions of Nunavut to better serve the needs of the burgeoning mining industry on Baffin Island. 

“The mining and exploration industries in Nunavut are growing rapidly and new opportunities are being created almost daily,” said Auyuittuq Aviation President Simon Merkosak.

“It is critical that our local businesses also evolve and expand so that we have the resources and expertise to serve these industries if our local and territorial economies, as well as Nunavummiut, are to benefit from this new period of prosperity.”

Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act[ and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993. The creation of Nunavut – meaning "our land" in Inuktitut – resulted in the first major change to Canada's map since the incorporation of the new province of Newfoundland in 1949. 

Nunavut comprises a major portion of Northern Canada, and most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, making it the fifth-largest country subdivision in the world. The capital Iqaluit (formerly "Frobisher Bay") on Baffin Island, in the east, was chosen by the 1995 capital plebiscite.  

Other major communities include the regional centres of Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. Nunavut also includes Ellesmere Island to the north, as well as the eastern and southern portions of Victoria Island in the west and Akimiski Island in James Bay to the far south. 

Nunavut is both the least populous and the largest in geography of the provinces and territories of Canada. One of the most remote, sparsely settled regions in the world, it has an estimated population of over 33,000, mostly Inuit, spread over an area the size of Western Europe. Nunavut is also home to the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, Alert.


The majority Inuit-owned joint venture will provide rotary and fixed-wing charter services with minority owners Air Tindi and Great Slave Helicopters conducting all flight operations. “We are proud to partner with national and industry leaders in the aviation field in this new venture,” added Merkosak. “The expertise of our partners allows us to offer the best of both worlds in the aviation industry drawing on their fleets of approximately 75 helicopters and 21 airplanes.” 

Auyuittuq Aviation will primarily operate out of its main office in Iqaluit, the administrative and transportation hub of the Qikiqtaaluk Region. It will focus its efforts on the transportation of workers and freight for the mining and exploration sectors as well as charter work and wildlife surveys for the Government of Nunavut.  

"Discovery Air subsidiaries Great Slave Helicopters and Air Tindi have a proven track record operating in the harsh environment of Canada's North and creating wealth for our Aboriginal partners," said Discovery Air Executive Vice President Chuck Parker. “We look forward to working with these new Inuit shareholders from the Kivalliq and Baffin regions and Auyuittuq President Simon Merkosak as we strive to build our new venture together.”

Founded in 2004, Discovery Air is a specialty aviation services company operating across Canada and in select locations internationally. With over 130 aircraft, it is one of the largest air operators in Canada, employing more than 600 flight crew, maintainers and support staff to deliver a variety of air transport, maintenance and logistics solutions to a wide range of government, airline and business customers.

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