October 3, 2012 – Kuujjuaq, Quebec: Makivvik today affirmed its continued support and renewed commitment to its investment in First Air. After a rigorous review of its strategic options, the Board confirmed its decision to retain full ownership of this important investment. The Board also reaffirmed its commitment to First Air’s strategic joint ventures with Sakku First Aviation Limited and Qikiqtani First Aviation Limited.
First Air also announced the resignation of President and CEO Kris Dolinki effective October 12, 2012. Mr. Dolinki has cited his desire to spend more time with his young family and personal reasons for his departure. Mr. Dolinki was appointed President in December 2011 following the departure of his predecessor.
“For more than two years, Mr. Dolinki assisted the Board with a rigorous review of our strategic alternatives. Kris had committed to see that project to its conclusion and with that behind us, it is time for new leadership to guide the future direction and success of First Air,” said Jobie Tukkiapik, President of Makivvik. “We want to thank Kris for his contributions to First Air and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
The Board has appointed Chris Ferris, First Air’s Vice President, Marketing & Sales to act as interim President and CEO. Ferris has been with the airline since 1999 and was integral in establishing the joint venture partnerships Sakku First Aviation Ltd. and Qikiqtani First Aviation Ltd. A special committee of the Board has convened to begin the search for a permanent President and CEO who will drive the future success of First Air.
Tukkiapik added, “The Board looks forward to working with management to move the airline forward on several strategic initiatives with a renewed focus on working with our joint venture partners.”
First Air has been connecting the people of the North for over 60 years and offers cargo, charter and scheduled service to more northern destinations than any other airline. First Air is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Makivvik since 1990, with over 1000 employees, of which more than 450 work and live in the North.
Makivvik was established in 1978 as a not-for-profit corporation mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for in 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 Nunavik communities.