FIRST AIR, LTD.: Carp Airport, 3257 Carp Road, Carp, Ontario K0A 1LO, Canada; Phone (613) 839-3340; Fax (613) 839-5890; Http://www. firstair. ca; Code 7F; Year Founded 1946. Originally formed by Russell Bradley in 1946 as the small Frobisher Bay-based charter and flight training operator Bradley Air Service, Ltd., this company is acquired by pilot John G. Jamieson upon Bradley’s death in 1970.
In 1971, the company establishes the world’s most northerly based commercial air service at Eureka, on Ellesmere Island, just 600 nautical miles from the North Pole.
The operation remains largely unchanged until October 1978, when Jamieson is able to acquire the former Nordair Arctic service and two de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters from Survair, Ltd. At this point, Bradley Air Service, Ltd. is reformed and establishes at Ottawa the scheduled commuter airline division First Air, Ltd. Its fleet now comprises 6 DHC-6s and 7 Douglas DC-3s.
A DHC-6-300 with 2 crew and 4 passengers is 40 ft. over the runway on final approach to Frobisher Bay on August 23 when it rolls left and hits the ground (1 dead).
One of the Douglas DC-3s is withdrawn in September and another in November. A Hawker Siddeley HS 748-A2 is acquired in December.
While on initial approach to Frobisher Bay on August 29, 1979, a DHC-6-300 with two crew and seven passengers strikes high ground 1,200 ft. E of the runway; there are no survivors. Services are inaugurated in 1980-1983 between Montreal and Ottawa and from Frobisher Bay to Nuuk, Greenland. During these years, four DC-3s and a DHC-6 are withdrawn in favor of two more HS 748s and a Beech 99.
A DHC-6-300 is involved in an accident at Station Nord, Greenland, on March 15, 1981; there is no information concerning any possible casualties.
President Jamieson’s carrier begins flying from Ottawa to Rouyn and Val d’Or in November 1984 employing Saunders ST-27s — stretched de Havilland DH 104 Doves with Pratt & Whitney of Canada PT-6 turboprop engines—leased from Voyageur Airways, Ltd.
At the same time, two new HS 748s acquired in April commence an Ottawa-Boston return frequency. The same month, the company obtains a C$9-million contract to maintain the government ice reconnaissance DHC-7 based at Ottawa.
In July 1985, a DC-3 is given over by Bearskin Lake Air Services,
Ltd. in exchange for two DHC-6s delivered by First Air the previous September. Authority for a route from Ottawa to Frobisher Bay is secured in late fall.
A Boeing 727-90QC is acquired from Alaska Airlines in December and christened Spirit of Iqualuit, it inaugurates thrice-weekly service between the two Ontario and Northwest Territories cities on March 31, 1986.
The jetliner also undertakes weekend Toronto-St. Petersburg charters under contract to Nordair, Ltd. Weeknights, the Boeing is leased by Air Canada, Ltd. to fly nightly return cargo shuttles from Ottawa to Winnipeg via Toronto. Ottawa-Rouyn via Val d’Or service ends in July. In late fall and winter, the jetliner flies holiday charters from Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor to Puerto Vallarta, Montego Bay, and Caracas.
An Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante joins the fleet in January 1987 followed by a second Boeing, a 727-27C, in February. In addition to its allowing an increase in frequency on the Ottawa-Frobisher Bay route, the jetliner also links Ottawa and Montreal.
One additional HS 748s joins the fleet in May and two more in September and these begin flying in October from Iqaluit Airport at Frobisher Bay to Yellowknife via Igloolik, Pelly Bay, Spence Bay, Gjoa Haven, and Cambridge Bay.
During the year, the EMB-110, two Beech 99s, and a DC-3 are withdrawn as orders are placed for two more Boeings and two HS 748s.
Beginning in late fall and continuing through the winter season, the jetliners already on hand provide twice-weekly replacement service from Montreal-Detroit on behalf of Sabena Belgian World Airlines, S. A.
Two additional HS 748s are delivered in May 1988, including one from failed Cascade Airways, followed by a Boeing 727-35 in June. The new jetliner inaugurates service from Ottawa-Yellowknife via Frobisher Bay.
The last three DC-3s are withdrawn in August as a fourth 727, a Dash-44C, arrives. While on initial approach to Cheney on an all-cargo flight from Montreal on September 15, the ex-Cascade Airways HS 748-2B with two crew strikes high ground short of the runway; the aircraft is destroyed and there are no survivors.
In late fall and continuing through the winter, the company’s four jetliners fly from Montreal and Ottawa, under contract to Mirabelle Tours, to such southern vacation destinations as Orlando, Santo Domingo, Freeport, Cura9ao, Acapulco, and Havana.
In December, a B-727 flies Armenian earthquake relief supplies to Moscow.
An HS 748-2A freighter with two crew fails its takeoff from Tipp City, Ohio, on January 12, 1989, for a service to Montreal (YUL); the turboprop smashes into trees and crashes, killing both flyers.
During late winter, two new routes are inaugurated from Ottawa to Newark and to Goose Bay. Also, a compact is signed with NWT Air, Ltd. sharing responsibility for service north of the 60th parallel.
In May, they begin taking turns on Mondays and Fridays flying the route from Frobisher Bay to Yellowknife, allowing an expansion of service to the areas of Keewatin and Kitikmeot.
The fleet in 1990 includes 20 aircraft: 4 Boeings, 8 BAe 748s, 6 Twin Otters, and 2 Beavers. Although the airline is now the dominant regional carrier of the Canadian Arctic, it still does not reveal its traffic or financial data.
Operations continue apace in 1991-1992, although severe competition is felt from the “Delta Connection” carrier Business Express.
A DHC-6-300 with two crew and four passengers noses over while landing on a gravel airstrip near Iqaluit on July 19 of the latter year; although the aircraft is damaged beyond repair, there are no fatalities.
In 1993, President Kamal B. Hanna oversees a workforce of 550.
Service is dropped from Ottawa to Boston, Goose Bay, and Montreal’s Mirabel Airport. During the spring, on behalf of Gronlandsfly, A. S./Greenlandair, A. S., First Air begins weekly B-727-90C services linking the newly opened civil airport at Pituffik (formerly Thule Air Base) with Ottawa via Kangerlussuaq, Iqaluit, and Montreal (YUL). Incoming passengers to Pituffik are shuttled to Qaanaaq, 90 miles south by a Gronlandsfly, A. S./Greenlandair, A. S. Bell 212.
Flights to 24 destinations continue in 1994 and the fleet, shared with Bradley Air Services, Ltd., now includes 5 each de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300s and BAe (HS) 748-2As, 2 748-2AFs, and 1 each B-727-35, B-727-27C, B-727-44C, B-727-90C, B-727-225F, B-727-233AF, DHC-7-150R, and BAe (HS) 748-2B.
The company is sold to the Makivik Corporation of Kuujjuaq, Quebec, in 1995. At the same time, Ptarmigan Airways, Ltd. is purchased, along with its routes in the western area of the Northwest Territories.
In 1996, the fleet is increased by the addition of seven DHC-6-300s and a BAe (HS) 748-2B.
The company’s fiftieth anniversary is celebrated throughout the year.
From hubs at Hall Beach, Iqaluit, Ottawa, Resolute Bay, and Yellowknife, services are provided to Broughton Island, Cambridge Bay, Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Coppermine, Coral Harbour, Gjoa Haven, Holman, Igloolik, Kangerlussuaq, Kuujjuaq, Lake Harbour, Montreal, Nanisivik, Pangnirtung, Pelly Bay, Pituffik, Pond Inlet, Rankin Inlet, and Taloyoak.
While landing at Markham Bay on an August 12 all-cargo service from Iqualit, a DHC-6-300 with two crew bounces twice heavily before striking a rock with its landing gear, which are sheared off, and plunges into the sea; there are no survivors.
A total of 115,000 passengers are flown on the year.
On January 10, 1997, 900 pilots from four “Air Canada Connector” airlines go on strike over merged seniority lists. NWT Air is not immediately affected as its flyers do not participate. When the job action is concluded in early March, Air Canada, Ltd. begins a review of its entire regional airline situation. The examination, driven not only by the strike, but also by the start-up of deep-discount competitors Vistajet, Ltd. and Greyhound Air, Ltd., results in the major’s decision to sell NWT Air.
About this same time, First Air completes arrangements for the purchase of Yellowknife-based Ptarmigan Airways, Ltd. and its fleet of three float-equipped de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otters and three Grumman Gulfstream Is, all painted in bright yellow livery. Amalgamation begins immediately.
In a significant feat of endurance, First Air achieves the longest scheduled same-plane flight in North America, from Ottawa to Yellowknife via Iqaluit, Nanisivik, and Resolute. The 5,241-km. flight requires 10 hrs. 20 min. to complete.
Another highlight of the year is the purchase of NWT Air, Ltd. from Air Canada, Ltd. on June 19. The purchase, which makes First Air the nation’s third largest scheduled airline, includes three B-737-200As and the former “Air Canada Connector” carrier’s routes to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Inuvik, Yellowknife, Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet, and Iqaluit. NWT Air founder Robert Engle leases the Lockheed L-100-30, which he had retained, to First Air; the Hercules is the only one of its type in commercial service in Canada.
During the spring of 1998, the wet-leased B-727-90C, operated on behalf of Gronlandsfly, A. S./Greenlandair, A. S., comes off lease. The amalgamation of NWT Air, Ltd. is completed on June 24. The Hercules, based at Yellowknife, will not be repainted in First Air colors like the larger Boeings.
In an effort to rescue people stranded by the pilots’ strike begun on September 2, Air Canada, Ltd. wet-leases aircraft from Royal Aviation, Ltd., First Air, Ltd., Skyservice, Ltd., and Corsair, S. A. to move people over the next week.
During the 12 months, a total of 200,000 souls are transported.
Airline employment at the beginning of 1999 stands at 970. The B-727 fleet now includes1 each Dash-90C, Dash-27C, Dash-44C, Dash-225F, and Dash-2H3F, plus 2 Dash-223Fs. Several of the Boeings wear special “Celebration ’99” decals in honor of the creation of Canada’s new territory, Nunavut, in April.
A number of lightplanes are also operated, including two of the three former Ptarmigan DHC-6 Twin Otters. The last of the Gulfstream Is is sold in June and is replaced with a BAe (HS) 748.
Overall enplanements for the year total 200,000.
The company workforce at the beginning of 2000 stands at 1,050, an 8.2% increase over the previous 12 months.
An Antonov An-2, transporting aeronautical engineer Dick Rutan and four others on an Arctic adventure, inadvertently puts down on thin ice four miles from the North Pole on May 15 and sinks. The travelers are rescued by a First Air DHC-6 after an accompanying Cessna 185 returns to Deadhorse to summon help.
The B-727-90C is withdrawn from service on June 10. It will be used for spare parts.
FIRST AIR INTERNATIONAL: 8036 Aviation Place, P. O. Box 29958, Dallas, Texas 75229, United States; Phone (214) 352-5228; Fax (214) 352-5899; Year Founded 1993. J. Michael Little sets up FAI at Dallas Love Field in 1993 to offer worldwide passenger air charters. With a workforce of six full-time and four part-time staff, Little begins FAR Part 135 service with a fleet that includes one each British Aerospace BAe (HS) 125-731 Hawker, Learjet 24, and Learjet 35A.
Operations continue during the next five years. In 1998, planning begins for the inauguration of scheduled services. These do not come to pass and in 1999-2000, services are maintained as before.
FIRST AMERICAN AIRLINES: United States (1993-1995). First American Airlines is established at Telluride, Colorado, in 1993 as subsidiary to the charter operator Falcon Flight to offer scheduled services. Fairchild Metro IIIA aircraft, chartered from the parent, are employed to fly four-times-per-week between the company base and Colorado Springs-Denver International Airport. Operations continue apace in 1994 and the privately owned airline chooses to release neither traffic nor financial information.
The company shuts down in 1995.
FISCHER AIR, A. S.: Evropska 178, Prague 6, CZ-16067, Czech Republic; Phone 420 (2) 2011 6170; Fax 420 (2) 2011 5439; http:// Www. fischer-air. cz; Code 8F; Year Founded 1996.
Fischer Air is established by Vaclav Fischer at Prague in 1996 to offer regional passenger charters in cooperation with his tour agency. Ian Dra-horad is appointed managing director and recruits a workforce of 119.
The new entrant inaugurates scheduled services to Malta on April 30, 1997 with a pair of leased Boeing 737-33As. Over the next 3 years, the concern will also flies holiday charters to over 30 destinations in 10 African and European nations. Michal Tomis becomes managing director and a third B-737, a Dash-36N, is acquired.
By the beginning of 2000, the airline employment stands at 170.