The newest airline to use Kelowna’s airport was scheduled to fly in its first plane Thursday evening.
Air North, with flights connecting Kelowna with Whitehorse, started service Thursday with the inaugural flight arriving from the Yukon city will carry company president Joseph Sparling, Yukon Minister of Economic Development Currie Dixon, Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis, Chief Joe Linkleater, of the Vuntut Gwitchin Yukon First Nation and Yukon’s very own Klondike Kate.
The airline will fly a seasonal, Whitehorse-Kelowna-Vancouver-Whitehorse route every Thursday and Sunday during the summer, with flights arriving here at 7:15 p.m. and leaving for Vancouver at 8 p.m. before arriving in Whitehorse at 11:45 p.m. From Whitehorse, passengers can connect to other northern communities such as Dawson City, Inuvik and Old Crow on Air North.
Air North, founded in 1977 by Sparling and Thomas Wood, is headquartered in Whitehorse and is now owned by Sparling, the Vuntut Development Corporation and 1,400 individual Yukon shareholders.
It is the largest airline in the Yukon and one of only five airlines in Canada that provide year-round, scheduled domestic air service using jets.
It employs 200 people in the Yukon and another 60 in Vancouver and has routes connecting the Yukon with B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Thursday’s event at the airport to mark the first Air North flight will include about 20 people from the Yukon as well as local dignitaries.