|AOC #||Canada: 107|
Rankin Inlet Airport
|Headquarters||20 Cope Drive, Kanata, Ontario|
|Key people||Chris Avery President & CEO|
Alexandra Pontbriand VP Finance
Rashwan Domloge VP Maintenance
VP Flight Operations
Bradley Air Services Limited, operating as First Air, is an airline headquartered in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It operates services to 34 communities in Nunavut, Nunavik, and the Northwest Territories. The majority of its fleet is available for charters worldwide. First Air has assisted in various humanitarian missions such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, airlifting relief supplies and equipment. Its main base, which includes a large hangar, cargo and maintenance facility, is located at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, with hubs at Iqaluit Airport, and Yellowknife Airport.
The airline was founded by Canadian aviation pioneer Russel (Russ) Bradley and started operations as Bradley Air Services in 1946 and is still registered under that name. First Air started scheduled operations in 1973, between Ottawa and North Bay. This service was operated with an eight-seat passenger plane.
The airline opened southern gateways at Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa. Through Kuujjuaq in Nunavik and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (NWT), the airline provides services to 26 Inuit communities in Nunavut, Nunavik and the NWT. Service to Sanikiluaq, Nunavut is provided in partnership with Air Inuit.
In 1995, First Air bought Ptarmigan Airways, and in 1997 it bought Northwest Territorial Airways (also known as NWT Air), both of which were merged into First Air. Ptarmigan Airways operated smaller turboprop aircraft types such as the Beechcraft King Air (BE-200 model), de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Turbine Beaver, DHC-6 Twin Otter and Grumman Gulfstream I propjets in addition to Cessna Citation business jet aircraft. Northwest Territorial operated Boeing 727-100 and Boeing 737-200 jetliners, Lockheed L-188 Electra propjets, Lockheed L-100 Hercules cargo turboprops and Douglas DC-3s.
On August 21, 2008, First Air fired president Bob Davis and replaced him with Scott Bateman. Davis had been president since December 1997 and had several disagreements with First Air over a period of time.
On June 5, 2009, First Air received a wide-body aircraft, a Boeing 767-223 SF (Super Freighter), which was under a three-year dry lease from (CAM) Cargo Aircraft Management, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). The 767 has since left the fleet.
After the introduction of the operationally and logistically more economical Boeing 767-223SF in March 2010, First Air retired and removed its two Boeing 727-233 aircraft from its fleet. One was one of only two combi types in the world, and the last 727-200 in North America on scheduled passenger-freight services. The other 727-233F full freighter has also been phased out. A Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprop (C-GFNW) was retired in March 2011. Replacing this aircraft type are two ATR 72 Combi turboprops as part of First Air's fleet replacement program. They are outfitted with a cargo handling system, and one is outfitted with a large cargo door. A first of its kind in North America, it is able to handle built Unit Load Device positions. This in turn will create a larger load capacity and flexibility reaching remote communities. One began service in the last quarter of 2011, and the second in the first quarter 2012.[needs update]
In February 2011, First Air and Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) started a new airline named Qikiqtani First Aviation. The new company provides services throughout Nunavut's Qikiqtani Region using First Air's fleet. Another airline, Sakku First Aviation, was started the same time in partnership with Sakku Investments Corporation in Nunavut's Kivalliq Region.
In October 2012, Dolinki resigned his position as President and CEO of First Air. This announcement came shortly after Makivik Corporation stated that, after many rumours, its stake in First Air was not for sale. The position of President and CEO was filled on an interim basis by Chris Ferris, First Air's Vice President of Marketing & Sales.
In March 2013, First Air/Makivik Corporation announced it had hired Brock Friesen as its new President and CEO.
On April 11, 2014, the Makivik Corporation and Norterra, owners of Canadian North, announced that they were in negotiations to merge the two airlines. According to a website set up the same day the new airline would be owned equally between the two companies and "a merger would create a stronger, more sustainable business, provide better service to customers and lead to new economic development opportunities across the North - "We believe the two companies would complement each other's strengths." In October 2014, it was announced the merger would not go through, but First Air would still codeshare some flights with Canadian North.
In early 2015 First Air announced strategic agreements with Cargojet Airways and Summit Air. The 767 lease was transferred to Cargojet at that time and First Air is now providing ATR Turboprop services to Cargojet.
On April 21, 2015, First Air Hercules C-GUSI flew the final civilian L382 flight in Canada, bringing to an end over 45 years of commercial Lockheed Hercules service. L382 Hercules operations in Northern Canada were begun during the 1960s by Pacific Western Airlines.
In 2016, First Air/Bradley Air Services became the oldest airline in Canada still operating under its original name.
On September 28, 2018, Makivik Corporation and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) signed a definitive agreement to merge Canadian North and First Air, awaiting government approval. The new airline would use the new First Air livery, but would operate under the name "Canadian North". On June 19, 2019, the federal government gave approval to the merger provided several terms and conditions were met.
First Air operates scheduled services to these domestic destinations in Canada:
|Arctic Bay||Nunavut||YAB||CYAB||Arctic Bay Airport|
|Arviat||Nunavut||YEK||CYEK||Arviat Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Baker Lake||Nunavut||YBK||CYBK||Baker Lake Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Cambridge Bay||Nunavut||YCB||CYCB||Cambridge Bay Airport|
|Cape Dorset||Nunavut||YTE||CYTE||Cape Dorset Airport|
|Chesterfield Inlet||Nunavut||YCS||CYCS||Chesterfield Inlet Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Churchill||Manitoba||YYQ||CYYQ||Churchill Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Clyde River||Nunavut||YCY||CYCY||Clyde River Airport|
|Coral Harbour||Nunavut||YZS||CYZS||Coral Harbour Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Edmonton||Alberta||YEG||CYEG||Edmonton International Airport|
|Fort Simpson||Northwest Territories||YFS||CYFS||Fort Simpson Airport|
|Gjoa Haven||Nunavut||YHK||CYHK||Gjoa Haven Airport|
|Hall Beach||Nunavut||YUX||CYUX||Hall Beach Airport|
|Hay River||Northwest Territories||YHY||CYHY||Hay River/Merlyn Carter Airport|
|Inuvik||Northwest Territories||YEV||CYEV||Inuvik (Mike Zubko) Airport|
|Montréal||Quebec||YUL||CYUL||Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport|
|Naujaat||Nunavut||YUT||CYUT||Naujaat Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Ottawa||Ontario||YOW||CYOW||Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport||Cargo Hub/ Maintenance Base|
|Pond Inlet||Nunavut||YIO||CYIO||Pond Inlet Airport|
|Rankin Inlet||Nunavut||YRT||CYRT||Rankin Inlet Airport||Hub|
|Resolute||Nunavut||YRB||CYRB||Resolute Bay Airport|
|Ulukhaktok||Northwest Territories||YHI||CYHI||Ulukhaktok/Holman Airport|
|Whale Cove||Nunavut||YXN||CYXN||Whale Cove Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Whitehorse||Yukon||YXY||CYXY||Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport||Codeshare with Air North|
|Winnipeg||Manitoba||YWG||CYWG||Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport||Codeshare with Calm Air|
|Yellowknife||Northwest Territories||YZF||CYZF||Yellowknife Airport||Hub|
According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), First Air operated scheduled passenger service from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s nonstop between Ottawa (YOW) and Boston (BOS) primarily with Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprops but also with Boeing 727-100 Combi jetliners as well. This was the only scheduled passenger service ever operated to the U.S. by First Air.
First Air has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
First Air previously operated the following aircraft types: