October 1, 2018 – Kuujjuaq, QC – Following the announcement on Friday September 28th regarding the merger of the airlines First Air and Canadian North, the Board of Directors is announcing a change of leadership. The Board and Makivvik wish to express their sincere appreciation for the leadership of Mr. Brock Friesen in his role as President and Chief Executive Officer. “I’m pleased to support these changes at First Air,” stated Makivvik President Charlie Watt. “Friday was an historic day for Inuit and Inuvialuit as we signed an agreement to merge the two airlines by the end of the year. We are embarking in a new era of northern aviation, and we would like to thank Brock Friesen for his five years of service to First Air as President and CEO.”
The Board is pleased to announce that Chris Avery has been appointed as the new First Air President and Chief Executive Officer. He was formerly the Vice-President of Customer and Commercial Operations at the airline. Mr. Avery joined First Air in 2017, and has taken on progressively more senior positions in his 25 years of aviation and travel industry experience, including senior management positions at WestJet, Alaska Airlines, Canadian Airlines International, and Transat Holidays.
Mr. Johnny Adams will concurrently take on a greater role in the airline as Executive Chairman, expanding his role as the current Chairman of the First Air Board. Mr. Adams has a long history of public and private executive service in the Nunavik region and beyond, and extensive business experience as an entrepreneur. Mr. Adams has served on the First Air board of directors for over ten years and since June 2017, has been the Chairman of the First Air Board of Directors. “With our new planned partnership with Inuvialuit Corporate Group, we are focusing on cooperative relationships with our new partners and on the customers and communities we currently serve as well as on strategic opportunities on the horizon. We have great confidence in Mr. Avery’s abilities to deliver on this new direction.”
The senior executive changes took effect as of October 1, 2018.
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Makivvik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivvik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivvik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.
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About First Air
With over 70 years of flying experience, First Air is the leading airline in Canada’s Arctic, providing scheduled service to Northern Communities with connections to Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton. First Air is 100% owned by Makivvik, representing the Inuit beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.