To convert an all passenger version into a combi that meets CDN North standards, substantial work is required. Not only will a huge hole have to be cut into the side of the fuselage, vortex dissipaters, gravel deflectors (the nose requires modification as the "ski" merely retracts flush to the fuselage) but all of CDN North's planes are quick change. Heck, I dont even know if combi conversions are still allowed. (They are banned in the US)
Now to do this, you have to palletize everything (after re-enforcing the entire floor deck) so that the seats can be easily removed in rows, exposing the cargo floor. Way to costly, especially seeing as Alaska did have 200QC's parked. (story on those I’m not sure) which they may have been able to pick up.
Further to this, CDN North currently has 5 active 732's and a F-28. Some western routes (namely YZF-YEG
) require the full 100-112 seats, I can see them picking up one and keeping it all passenger for that route, as well as charters to the diamond mines as at times they too use all 100 seats. Also as mentioned, with the recent Fort Mac charters, they could use an extra airframe. Keep in mind they are running 6 planes on a route structure that extends from Calgary all across the north and as far east as Ottawa, a lot of ground to cover with only 6.
Now to see the pink Zip flying around with a decal of a polar bear on it…..that could get interesting.