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Air North Commences Operations at New Flight Dispatch Center
The Yukon is Canada’s mountainous, wild and sparsely populated northwestern province, filled with immense wildlife, high plateaus and serene glacier-fed lakes. The Yukon is also special for having its own airline, Air North, who recently became the first Canadian airline to have its entire flight operations located north of 60 degrees latitude. The airline’s flight dispatch center officially commenced operations on June 15.
The new flight dispatch office will provide the opportunity for the airline to plan routes more efficiently by increasing the number of approved flight paths in the region. In addition, the variety of route options will allow pilots and dispatchers to take advantage of the different wind and weather conditions.
As a result, the flights will be able to operate faster with less turbulence, while being able to conserve fuel with their fleet of Boeing 737 Classic series. Chad Wilson, Chief Dispatcher for Air North, and project lead for getting the program off the ground recognizes the meaningful impacts that this new facility will have for not just the airline but also for The Yukon.
“The opening of Air North’s Flight Dispatch Centre is not only a significant accomplishment for the company, but for the north overall,” Wilson said.
Prior to the opening of the new facility in Whitehorse, CA, the airline known to be Yukon’s primary airline, had its flight dispatch services contracted through a company based in Calgary, CA. By bringing this service further north with the new flight dispatch office, Air North is able to bring the jobs to the local Yukon labor market, adding six to eight new, highly-skilled positions. This new, centralized facility being run by the airline, instead of a contractor, will also host a flight dispatch training program.
The Whitehorse, CA-based carrier hopes to continue to provide career opportunities and different positions for employees and Yukoners in a variety of methods, including pilots and cabin crew, in addition to flight dispatchers. The airline plans to hopefully further expand its training for flight personnel to become qualified flight dispatchers in the Yukon, which includes completing an exam for Transport Canada. The flight dispatchers have similar skills to a pilot and are expected to consult with the flight crew, sign off on flight departures and advise on rerouting flights.
“Flight dispatchers’ primary focus is flight safety – from filing flight plans to monitoring weather and continuously tracking the progress of all flights, they play an integral role in flight operations, “ Wilson added. “ To be able to provide this skilled service and training program is really a first here in the Yukon. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”
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