New jet cold-soaked in Yellowknife cleared to fly in Canada

An aircraft model brought to Yellowknife for cold-weather testing earlier this year has been given its type certification, allowing it to fly commercially in Canada.

The Embraer E195-E2 appeared in Yellowknife and Iqaluit in February, environments that Embraer said were “ideal for measuring the effect of prolonged cold on the aircraft’s operations and systems.”

Toronto-based Porter Airlines is buying at least 50 E195-E2 jets, with delivery of the first reported to be scheduled for the coming days at Embraer’s Brazil headquarters.


Porter is using the new aircraft to expand its range of destinations – daily Toronto-Edmonton and Toronto-Calgary flights will begin next year – and offer what it calls an “elevated economy” for all passengers, including cabins with no middle seats and free wifi.

Snow on an E195-E2 during cold-weather testing
Snow on an E195-E2 during cold-weather testing. Photo: Embraer

Embraer has positioned the E195-E2 as one of the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft for its size. Capable of holding up to 146 seats, it is billed by the company as having lower emissions and external noise than others in a similar class.

The aircraft had already received its type certification in Brazil, the United States and Europe. Transport Canada’s certification allows Porter to begin domestic operations with the jet.

“What happens to an airplane when it sits for 10 hours at -35C or less? That’s what a cold-soak test determines,” Embraer explained earlier this year when an E195-E2 arrived in the Northwest Territories.

“The test measures the impact on more than 200 items. After the ‘soak,’ Embraer’s flight team flew the aircraft to check its flying behaviour. There was another round of checks by the ground crew after the E195-E2 landed.”


The company said the model had passed an initial test years earlier but that had been inside a hangar simulating ultra-low outdoor temperatures. Transport Canada requires that aircraft be tested in a natural environment.

The NWT government and Yellowknife Airport have worked for years to market the territory as a destination for companies looking to test aircraft, road vehicles and other forms of equipment in some of the world’s coldest conditions.

One of the E195-E2’s closest rivals, the Airbus A220, also performed cold-weather testing in Yellowknife in early 2020.

It’s unlikely the E195-E2 will be back in Yellowknife on a regular basis for the time being, though Porter – which has promised “many more destinations soon” – could yet decide an NWT route is viable.