CanWest Air's History
CanWest Air in its current form is the result of growing from three primary corporate entities: Little Red Air Service, Nor-Alta Aviation Leasing, and Can-West Corporate Air Charters Ltd.
Little Red Air Service was founded by the Little Red River Cree Nation in 1986, and served the communities of Fox Lake, John D’or Prairie, Garden River, and Fort Vermilion through chartered flights and air ambulance services.
In 2004, Nor-Alta Aviation Leasing entered into an agreement to lease their 2 King Air’s to Little Red Air Service, expanding the Air Ambulance fleet and adding executive charter capacity. In 2006, Nor-Alta Aviation consolidated a management agreement and purchased the assets of Little Red Air, merging seamlessly to become Nor-Alta Aviation. At this time, the operation consisted of on demand freight and passenger charter services to the North-West Alberta communities, and operating dedicated Air Ambulance King Air’s out of Fort Vermilion and High Level bases.
In 2010, Nor-Alta Aviation expanded operations to include a Fort McMurray base, providing a dedicated Air Ambulance aircraft for Alberta Health Services, bringing the fleet of dedicated Air Ambulance Aircraft to a total of 3, plus one spare that was available for quick reconfiguration between passenger, cargo and air ambulance operations as required. During this period, Nor-Alta Aviation also offered business aircraft management services, providing a one stop service for private business aircraft owners to obtain flight crews and maintenance services for their aircraft, as well as assistance in management of their private operator relationship with Transport Canada.
Can-West Corporate Air Charters was founded in 1988 as Slave Air, and served Wabasca, Slave Lake and Edmonton with air ambulance, charters and a contract performing smoke surveillance patrols for the Government of Saskatchewan.
In 2015, Nor-Alta Aviation purchased 100% of company shares in Can-West Corporate Air Charters Ltd and took on the CanWest Air name as part of the amalgamation.
Following this purchase, the company embarked on a process to become more efficient and to provide the best fleet to meet their customer needs. This resulted in the divesture of several aircraft types, the combination of management, maintenance and flight crews into a single company. Many company policies and procedures were amended and developed to become applicable to the new company’s structure and business model.
Before 2015 was ﬁnished, CanWest Air expanded again and secured the purchase of Meadow Air Ltd. assets, consisting of a ﬂeet of six Cessna 337 Skymasters. CanWest Air currently operates three of these aircraft on contract in Saskatchewan.
In September 2017, CanWest Air began a long term contract provide dedicated Air Ambulance Services in eight locations across Alberta: High Level, Fort Vermilion, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Slave Lake, Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat. To accommodate this contract, the Heavy Maintenance Facility was relocated to the Edmonton International Airport. Over the following 9 months, a total of 9 new King Air Fusion aircraft (One B300C, One B250CGT, and 7 B250GT) were purchased from Textron, imported to Canada, and retrofitted in house into custom engineered Air Ambulance Platforms through our Edmonton Heavy Maintenance Base. To house these aircraft, Hangars were purchased in Peace River and Grande Prairie, new hangars constructed in Medicine Hat and Fort Vermilion, and hangar space leased to accommodate the two International Airport based aircraft.
At the close of the 2021 Fiscal Year, CanWest Air operated 2 Cessna C208B Grand Caravans, 6 Cessna U206 Stationairs, 3 Cessna 337 Skymasters, one King Air B300C, and a fleet of 8 B250GT/CGT King Airs.