THUNDER BAY - A regional carrier is expanding its reach throughout the region with the help of a new aircraft ideal for remote Northern Ontario communities.
North Star Air added a new ATR 42-300 aircraft to its fleet, which will service routes between Fort Hope, Neskantaga, Webequie and Thunder Bay.
“We are adding it because of the demand for this type of aircraft, the number of seats, and the cargo needs of these communities that move back and forth,” said John Beardy, community and relations manager for North Star Air.
The ATR can seat 44 passengers and carry 900 kilograms of cargo. The turboprop also offers more space, a washroom, and in-flight snacks and beverages.
“The passengers like how it’s spacious, there is overhead bins for carry-on bags, a washroom inside, as well as some snacks and beverages with a flight attendant on these flights,” Beardy said. “It’s smoother, quieter, and seems to be faster.”
The addition of the ATR brings North Star Air’s total fleet of aircraft to 13. Beardy said the ATR is perfectly suited to fit the needs of remote communities.
“It’s because of its ability to land in remote, gravel, and shorter runways,” he said. “It is fitted to fly to these type of runways and the size of the aircraft and number of passengers it can carry, that is why it is ideal.”
Beardy added he hopes the new aircraft will help meet the growing demand for air service in the region and after an evaluation period of two to three months, North Star Air will examine the possibility of adding more routes and aircraft.
“Initially we planned one flight a day, but because of the demand and increase in passenger numbers, as well as cargo requirements, we have to add another flight in the afternoon,” Beardy said.