About North-Wright Airways
Sahtu Owned & Operated
a brief history
North-Wright Air is a family-run, Aboriginal-owned airline based in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada. We operate in the remote regions of Canada’s North in the Sahtu Region. Without year-round roads, all the communities here depend highly on air travel. North-Wright was founded in 1986 by Warren Wright shortly after he acquired Nahanni Air. He initiated the business with six staff and three aircraft: a Cessna 207, a Britten-Norman Islander, and a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Piston Engine Otter.
As North-Wright Air offered more services and the business continued to grow into the mid-1990s, it was evident that we would require more aircraft, along with more staff—the company was managing all scheduled flights with a single Twin Otter, a Britten-Norman Islander, a Cessna 337, and a 207, a Piper PA-31 Navajo, and a Beechcraft Model 99.
To keep up with the increased demand for air travel to the North and to adhere to new federal regulations, North-Wright built an aircraft hangar in Norman Wells in 1994 for heavy maintenance. In addition, the company hired staff in their Maintenance and Stores departments and brought on new office personnel since dispatch, reservations, and check-ins could no longer be managed by one person.
Over the coming years, North-Wright Air’s business continued to grow, which was due to a rise in scheduled flights within the region. As a result, the company purchased two Cessna 208 Grand Caravans in 1995. They also imported a second Beechcraft 99 in 1996. This reduced the need for the Piper Navajos, which were eventually phased out of service in 1998.
In the early 2000s, the region experienced a surge in oil and gas exploration, along with diamond and mineral exploration, which led to an increase in air travel to remote northern communities. This presented us with the opportunity to expand the scope of the business, consequently purchasing new aircraft and hiring more staff.
In 2006, after serving the Northwest Territories for nearly two decades as a family operation, North-Wright Airways partnered with the Aboriginal land corporations in the Sahtu region. This would allow the company to continue its current growth path by firmly establishing its corporate structure and solidifying its position as a regional leader, allowing the communities to have input on how to serve their residents best.
In the late 2000s, the economy in the Northwest Territories was thriving, which led to increased government travel throughout the region. This afforded North-Wright new business opportunities, leading to purchasing and incorporating our first Beechcraft 1900D into the fleet and extending our scheduled service to include flights to and from Yellowknife. In 2014, we incorporated a 2nd Beechcraft 1900D into the fleet.
After more than 35 years, Our team now consists of over 70 staff, and we operate a fleet of over 20 fixed-wing aircraft. We Operate multiple Bases across the Sahtu & Yellowknife. In Norman Wells, we operate our main office, our maintenance Hangar & our Float Base. We run charter services through the Arctic and scheduled commuter flights between eight northern communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories (Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, Norman Wells, Tulita, Deline, and Yellowknife). We also offer various specialty services, including off-strip flying, travel to isolated locations, transportation for hunting outfitters, canoe adventures, tourism, cargo transportation, wildlife expeditions, and aerial surveying.
We are honored to serve the people of the Sahtu and are grateful for the opportunities the region has provided. As we strive forward into the future, we are committed to providing the best service we can to our clients and will always work tirelessly to ensure safe, timely and easy transportation around Canada’s North.
North-Wright Airways is a charter and commuter airline located in the Sahtu Region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Based in Norman Wells, we have satellite offices in all eight communities. We service the communities of Yellowknife, Deline, Tulita, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, Aklavik and Inuvik with our scheduled service.
The North-Wright hangar/office complex (80’x124′) is located close to the Norman Wells Airport. The Norman Wells Airport records 20,000 flights per year on its 6000 foot runaway, with North-Wright contributing 12,000 to 14,000 of those flights. Our complex was built in 1995.
Located at DOT Lake, the Float Base serves as the departure point for freight and passengers for the resource sector and the launching point for a variety of wilderness adventures including hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking and flightseeing. In the summer season, a Twin Otter and a Pilatus Porter on floats are based here. There is a log cabin, crafted in 1990 by local artisan Rick Muyers, which serves as an air service building.