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About Bearskin Airlines

Bearskin Airlines, also known as Bearskin Lake Air Service LP, is a regional Canadian airline based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.


The airline operates services to 12 destinations in Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba. No other airline offers better connecting service between NW Ontario and NE Ontario. Thunder Bay acts as Bearskin's major hub, linking Northern Ontario's 5 largest cities to NW Ontario and to Winnipeg.


Bearskin Airlines is mainly based in Thunder Bay International Airport and Greater Sudbury Airport, Canada.


Bearskin Airlines' orginis are from Northern Ontario. John Hegland founded the company on July 17, 1963, naming it after Bearskin Lake, a remote First Nations community located 270 miles northeast of Sioux Lookout.


In 1977, the company commenced its first scheduled route, carrying passengers between Big Trout Lake and Sioux Lookout. A year later, a base operation was established in Sioux Lookout and a second scheduled route was launched, between Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. Shortly thereafter, Cliff Friesen moved to Thunder Bay to establish another base operation.


In the late 70's and early 80's, the provincial government embarked upon an extensive airfield construction program in Ontario's remote First Nations communities. Bearskin took advantage of this opportunity to commence scheduled service with wheeled aircraft throughout the north. For many years, Bearskin Airlines provided a vital link to more than 20 First Nation communities accessible only by air.


Throughout the 80's and early 90's Bearskin continued to expand and enhance it's service to many Northwestern Ontario cities, providing connections to Air Canada in Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Using newly acquired 19 seat Fairchild Metroliners, expansion continued throughout Northeastern Ontario in the mid 90's, followed by Northern Manitoba in 1999. By the summer of 2003, Bearskin Airlines had expanded to include scheduled service to almost 40 destinations.


In early 2003 Bearskin sold its northern assets to Wasaya Airways who took control of Bearskin's scheduled passenger service to 21 First Nation communities. Wasaya is wholly owned by a number of Northwestern Ontario First Nation communities.


Following the sale to Wasaya, Bearskin Airlines rationalized its routes and equipment to include more southern markets within Ontario and a single aircraft type - the Fairchild Metroliner.


The company maintains its Head Office in Thunder Bay and employs more than 180 people throughout Ontario and Manitoba. The company also has a maintenance and pilot base in Thunder Bay.






Winnipeg (Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport)



Dryden (Dryden Regional Airport)

Fort Frances (Fort Frances Municipal Airport)

Kapuskasing (Kapuskasing Airport)

Kenora (Kenora Airport)

North Bay (North Bay/Jack Garland Airport)

Red Lake (Red Lake Airport)

Sault Ste. Marie (Sault Ste. Marie Airport)

Sioux Lookout (Sioux Lookout Airport)

Sudbury (Sudbury Airport)

Thunder Bay (Thunder Bay International Airport)

Timmins (Timmins/Victor M. Power Airport)







15th September 2017

Airlines guaranteed exclusive routes, as long as they depart from YKF

A new initiative will give airlines exclusive right to fly to any destination from the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

Waterloo regional council is offering airlines an exclusive deal to lock in chosen destinations for a period of two years if they agree to fly out of the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

The initiative is intended to entice passenger airlines to the airport, which has had a history of losing scheduled flights to places like Ottawa and Orlando.

Just two destinations remain for travel out of YKF: Westjet's daily flights to Calgary and Sunwing's once-weekly seasonal service to Punta Cana.

If you want to start a new flight from our airport, we'll give you up to two years exclusive rights to that route.- Tom Galloway, planning and works committee, Region of Waterloo

But Tom Galloway, chair of the region's planning and works committee, said the exclusive offer would make the airport more attractive. 

"It has happened at other airports where a new, start-up airline will start a low cost flight to a particular destination and then, immediately upon that announcement, one of the existing airlines will do the same thing and essentially run them out of business," he said. 


By giving airlines the exclusive right to fly to any destination from the Waterloo airport for 24 months, the region is protecting airlines from that kind of competition.

"We're offering it to everybody," Galloway said. "Existing airlines, new airlines, small, large or medium-sized airlines. If you want to start a new flight from our airport, we'll give you up to two years exclusive rights to that route."

In order to benefit from the perk, airlines will have to submit a proposal, and Galloway said preference will be given to proposals that provide the most benefit to the region.

According to a staff report, the evaluation process will favour "proposals for multiple routes, basing aircraft at YKF, and establishing headquarters, maintenance and repair operations and/or other corporate functions such as training and call centre activities in the Waterloo Region."




April 2017


Jazz welcomes Bearskin Airlines to its pilot pathway program


Jazz Aviation LP ("Jazz") is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Thunder Bay, Ontario-based Bearskin Lake Air Service LP ("Bearskin") for the carrier to become the twelfth organization in the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program ("Jazz APP").

"Our Jazz APP program was introduced 10 years ago, in 2007, and now a decade later our commitment to developing a solid career path for pilots in Canada has never been stronger," said Steve Linthwaite, Vice President, Flight Operations, Jazz. "We're very pleased to welcome Bearskin to the Jazz APP and acknowledge the calibre of pilots at their organization."

There are two pillars of this agreement:

First, Jazz will refer to Bearskin, high quality graduates who have progressed through the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program at our affiliated aviation colleges and universities. Those graduates would have the opportunity to transition to first officer positions at Bearskin.

Second, the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program will provide a direct career path opportunity for qualifying Bearskin pilots to transition to first officer positions at Jazz. The career pathway could then continue for those Bearskin pilots interested in future opportunities to fly for Air Canada through Jazz's preferential interview process (Pilot Mobility Arrangement) with the mainline carrier.

Through agreements with eight colleges and universities, and four industry organizations including Bearskin, the Jazz APP program provides yet another pilot career pathway for aviation graduates with this latest agreement.

"We are very pleased to join Jazz in this landmark program," said Brad Martin, President, Bearskin Airlines. "The benefits to our company are immediately recognizable, providing Bearskin with qualified new entrant pilots along with an offer of career pathing for our existing pilots."

Jazz and Bearskin recognize and appreciate the involvement, proactive approach and commitment of the Air Line Pilots Association, International ("ALPA") – especially both Master Executive Councils – regarding discussions on ALPA seniority and provisions affecting both the Jazz and Bearskin flight teams.

Since 2007 Jazz has been actively involved in shaping the curriculum and training of Canada's future professional pilots through active engagement with aviation college and universities. In 2015, Jazz rebranded these efforts under the Jazz Aviation Pathway Program banner. To date, Jazz has announced agreements between the Jazz APP and the following institutions and organizations:

Education Institutions: Algonquin College, Centre québécois de formation aéronautique at Cégep de Chicoutimi, Confederation College, Mount Royal University, Okanagan College, Sault College, Seneca College, and Western University.

Industry Organizations: Air Cadet League of Canada, Air Canada, Bearskin Airlines, Wasaya Airways.



Sudbury Airport

HUB Airport

Sudbury Airport (or Greater Sudbury airport) is an airport in the Canadian city of Greater Sudbury, Ontario and is located northeast of the downtown area, on Municipal Road 86 between the communities of Garson and Skead. Although in many contexts the airport uses the name Greater Sudbury Airport, its official name, as registered with Transport Canada and printed in all aeronautical publications, is still simply Sudbury Airport.

The airport is served primarily by regional carrier lines such as Air Canada Jazz, Bearskin Airlines, Porter Airlines and WestJet Encore. From 2001 to 2004, it was also served by WestJet flights to Hamilton. It is also a base of Ornge air ambulance service.






The Fleet


Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner






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