Air Inuit was founded in 1978 with the mission of keeping Quebec’s northernmost communities connected by providing air transport services across and beyond the territory north of the 55th parallel known as Nunavik – a region so vast and rugged that air transportation is the only means to move people and goods efficiently.
Air Inuit has been providing vital passenger (both scheduled and charter), cargo and emergency air transport services to the region – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – for nearly 40 years. The airline has logged more than 750,000 hours of airtime and flown over 2-million passengers in one of the world’s most challenging operating environments.
By the very nature of the territory we serve, Air Inuit also does its utmost to provide maximum employment for Inuit. Approximately 30% of our employees are Inuit, including pilots, ground crew, flight operations, and maintenance.
Air Inuit’s history is linked to the signing of Canada’s first modern land claim agreement – the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. It was negotiated by Inuit leaders working for the Northern Quebec Inuit Association, which became Makivik Corporation after the Agreement was signed. Air Inuit is 100% owned by Makivik Corporation. Our owners, therefore, are the Inuit of Nunavik.
A little plane History
Air Inuit began operations in 1978 with the purchase of a single-engine De Havilland Beaver aircraft, a Single Otter and a DHC3 based in Kuujjuaq. Followed shortly afterward by a pair of Twin Otters,
In 1983, the company purchased the routes north along the eastern Hudson’s Bay coast from Austin Airways, increasing its Twin Otter fleet to eight. In 1985, the company acquired its first Hawker Siddley 748 and began operating from a base in Kuujjuaraapik which was later relocated to La Grande (LG2) to address the growing demand to move cargo and heavy machinery throughout the region, primarily for mining purposes. In 1988, Johnny May’s Air Charters was purchased as a subsidiary company running Single Otters and Beavers during the float season.
In 1995, the company embarked on an ambitious expansion plan, introducing De Havilland Dash-8-100 service between Montreal and Nunavik. Subsequently, in 1998, Nunavik Rotors was created and a rotary-wing service added to the region from its base in Kuujjuaq with the purchase of an Aerospatiale Astar 350 helicopter.
In 2008, the airline acquired a Boeing 737-200C capable of landing on gravel and specially adapted for northern operations much to the pride of management and customers alike.
Working directly with Bombardier, Air Inuit developed multiple adapted configurations for its Dash-8-300 fleet, configurations such as: 45 seaters, full freighters and a unique large freight door freighter Dash-8.
Air Inuit has become an important regional carrier in Canada. The company has recently built a multi-purpose state-of-the-art maintenance and Technical center at Montreal’s Trudeau International airport as part of a sweeping modernization initiative designed to meet increased demand for air transport services throughout Northern Quebec and other destinations across Canada and the United States.
Since the company’s founding, Air Inuit has worked to enhance the lives of Inuit throughout Nunavik by supporting community organizations, educational programs, athletic training and cultural events. It has also been active on the world stage through its participation in international organizations such as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), where Inuit from other Arctic regions meet to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern. It remains the company’s firm intention that Inuit culture and language be preserved and allowed to flourish.