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Monday, July 22, 2019

Canadian North and First Air to merge - Aurora Rewards will remain as the new airline's frequent flyer program


On July 10 the Government of Canada approved the merger of Canada's two major airlines of the north, First Air and Canadian North. The merged airline will be known as Canadian North but with a planned integration timeline of 18-24 months the two airlines will continue to operate separately for the time being.

Here are highlights of what is to come:
  • A major priority will be to develop a combined flight schedule that will enable customers of both airlines to book any flight operated by First Air or Canadian North. This schedule will be released later this year, several months before it takes effect. Communities will continue to receive passenger and cargo capacity that fully meets their needs, with competitive passenger and cargo rates.
  • Canadian North’s popular Aurora Rewards loyalty program will be expanded to all scheduled flights operated by First Air, so that customers of both airlines have the ability to earn Aurora Rewards points and Aeroplan Miles that can be redeemed for free flights.
  • A unified ‘Canadian North’ brand will begin to roll out, featuring the First Air’s distinctive Inukshuk logo and red and white colour palette. This brand will be seen in more and more places as time progresses, including the website, uniforms, counter signage and aircraft livery.
  • Dedicated and hard-working First Air and Canadian North team members will be brought together under the unified Canadian North banner. This will be a gradual process that will be completed hand-in-hand with other milestones such as combining flight reservations systems, fare products, operational processes, fleets and facilities.
  • The merged airline will strive to lead the aviation industry as a top employer, with continued focus on recruiting Inuit and other Indigenous team members for excellent careers within this sector.
For most of you reading this post it is the second bullet point that will be of greatest interest. The new airline will retain Canadian North's current Aurora Rewards program. As we have written about in the past, this program is unique in that all flights let you double dip for earning - that is you can earn Aurora Rewards points AND Aeroplan miles for the same flight on the same ticket. You can then choose to redeem either Aurora Rewards points or Aeroplan miles for the flights on the airline.  The latter tends to be very popular as ticket prices for flying to the North or even between two points in Northern Canada can be very expensive so being able to redeem Aeroplan miles for them can provide some huge value.

We'll be sure to keep you up to date with the integration process over the next year and a half to two years! 

Read more about this announcement here.

 Title image courtesy of Canadian North

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