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About First Air


1946 Russell (Russ) Bradley forms Bradley Air Services Ltd. in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital city of Canada.
1954 Bradley Air Services begins charter and aerial survey work for the DEWline construction in the vast, untamed Northwest Territories.
1958 On contract for the Geological Survey of Canada, Russ & partner Weldy Phipps mount “tundra tires on Piper Super Cubs, revolutionizing Arctic explorations capability in the process.
1958-68 Charter operations in the Arctic Islands expand. Bradley Air Services is engaged by scientific & government agencies.
1968 Bradley Air Services is awarded air support contract for the Polar Continental Shelf Project in the Beaufort Sea and Tuktoyaktuk, NT.
1971 The company opens the most northernly base commercial air service in the world at Eureka (600 mi from the North Pole).
1973 Bradley Air Services Ltd creates First Air.
1973 First Air opens a major base in Resolute Bay in the High Arctic.
1973 Scheduled passenger flights begin linking Ottawa to North Bay & Sudbury (Ontario) using an 8 passenger aircraft.
1974 The first commercial air operation is conducted in Antarctica for the US Navy’s Ross Ice Shelf Project.
1975 First Air opens Iqaluit base.
1978 The Baffin operations and routes of Survair are purchased by First Air – securing a position for passenger and cargo services in the Northwest Territories.
1986 First Air’s first Boeing 727-100C is purchased for cargo and passenger applications, kicking off its first foray into jet services to the North.
1987-94 The airline takes on the lateral support contract for DEWline resupplying stations from the Alaska border to Greenland.
1990 Makivik Corporation, the organization representing the Inuit of Northern Quebec, purchases First Air.
1995 Ptarmigan Airways of Yellowknife is purchased, further expanding the scope of charter operations capability in the Western Arctic.
1996 First Air celebrates its 50th anniversary as a Northern airline.
1997 NWT Air is purchased, solidifying passenger, cargo and charter services throughout the entire North. First Air’s enhanced partnership with Air Canada expands travel options for northerners.
1999 First Air honours the creation of the new territory of Nunavut and the new Northwest Territories with an extensive program of customer initiatives under the ‘Celebration ’99′ banner.
2001 The Sabre computer Reservation’s system is adopted, providing a more efficient operating system for reservations while enhancing the check-in process for customers.
2001 ATR42-300 aircraft begin replacement of the HS748 fleet. This marks the first aircraft to be deployed in western routes.
2002 First Air is named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for its strong growth over the previous three years. The awards are sponsored by Andersen, CIBC, National Post and Queen’s School of Business.
2003 Electronic ticketing is launched, providing a fast and convenient service, and simplifying travel.
2005 First Air introduces all passenger Boeing 737 jet service on the Ottawa-Iqaluit route.
2005 The 737 tail is adorned with the first in a planned series of aircraft livery of traditional northern images.
2006 First Air celebrates its 60th anniversary as a Northern airline.
2006 The all-passenger Boeing 737 jet service is introduced on the Edmonton-Yellowknife route.
2006 The second L-382 Hercules joins the First Air fleet.
2008 All northern communities become automated in both the Eastern and Western regions with Sabre Interact.
2009 Expansion continues in Nunavut with the introduction of Baker Lake connection to Rankin Inlet. Arviat soon follows.
2009 The Boeing 767-223 SF (Super Freighter) is introduced as the first wide body freighter in the fleet.
2010 First Air mobilizes the Boeing 767 Super Freighter to aid in Haiti disaster relief.
2010 Expansion into Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Repulse Bay, and Whale Cove, results in service to the entire Kivalliq Region.
2010 Service to Norman Wells, NWT, is added.
2010 First Air reaches transportation service agreements for both Kivalliq Inuit Association & Qikiqtani Inuit Association beneficiaries.
2010 First Air launches Sivurariaqnik, a proactive northern employment program. Over 500 attend launch event at Iqaluit hangar
2010 First Air and Sakku Investments Corporation announce a new joint venture airline, Sakku First Aviation Ltd, to operate throughout the Kivalliq region
2010 First Air and Kitikmeot Inuit Association announce transportation services agreement for beneficiaries
2011 First Air and Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) announce Qikiqtani First Aviation Ltd, a joint venture airline established to operate throughout the Baffin region
2011 The last Hawker Siddeley HS748 FNW retires from service after a quarter century of history with this pioneer aircraft type
2011 Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies Award, recognizing excellence in the country’s leading private organizations, is presented by Deloitte, CIBC Commercial Banking, the National Post and Queen’s School of Business
2011 Community Support and Environment Award is presented by the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce for First Air’s outstanding contribution to the Kivalliq Region
2011 Sivurariaqnik is unveiled in Rankin Inlet with an employment event at the Siniktarvik Hotel and inaugural presentation of First Air’s Boeing 767 aircraft at the airport. This marks the first time an aircraft of that size has landed in Rankin Inlet.
2011 Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce recognizes First Air as Best Community Support Business.
2011 The first of two ATR 72-212′s begins service. First Air becomes the only operator in the world to fly an ATR 72-212 with Variable Combi and a
full custom designed cargo handling system.
2012 Implementation of TRAX, a fully integrated web based maintenance solution
2012 Roll-out of an Automated Flight and Information Reporting System (AFIRS) for the entire fleet of aircraft (except the L-382 Hercules), begins
2012 First Air teams up with Air Greenland offering seasonal service to Nuuk through code share agreement.