First Air boss responds to critics


On behalf of First Air, I wish to respond to a letter and an editorial which were published in the May 9 edition of Nunatsiaq News regarding the operations of our airline.

Todd Phillips wrote, chronicling his journey from Iqaluit to Toronto in late April. His letter outlined a voyage which, unfortunately did not occur as planned, due to a mechanical failure on one of our aircraft. Rather than wait for the delayed flight, Mr. Phillips chose to fly the next day.

Mr. Phillips took us to task on a number of issues related to customer service, which resulted in travel that was in the end, an unpleasant experience for himself, his wife and infant child. For this, we are sorry.

You, the readers of Nunatsiaq News, are our customers as are many other people in the North, southern Canada and around the world. Our job as an airline is to transport you safely and in comfort. When things go wrong, we want to hear about it so that we can improve our services.

Without taking up a lot of ink, there is a troubling aspect to both the letter and the accompanied editorial that needs to be addressed publicly. First Air appears to be portrayed in the press as a monopoloy “concerned only with its bottom line and unconcerned with the comfort of its custormers.” That’s not our corporate objective.

First Air is a company created by people, people who love the North, love to fly and are invigorated to be part of the northern aviation story. Our airline is 100 per cent Inuit-owned, something we are extremely proud of. First Air employs over 650 people. The men and women who work to keep our planes flying are your friends and neighbours. They are putting their human energy into ensuring that your experience on board will be a pleasant one.

There’s more to this airline, though, than just flying airplanes and transporting you to your destination. Our airline is part of the developing Arctic region. We are growing along with Nunavut, as well as the developments taking place across the Circumpolar North.

Reading letters such as the one penned by Mr. Phillips is a dispiriting experience. However, we appreciate honest feedback and wish to assure Mr. Phillips, and all readers of Nunatsiaq News that we will fastidiously check our “barf bags” from now on, as well as attend to all other issues related to customer service.

Andrew G. Campbell
V. P. Sales and Commercial Operations
Carp, Ontario

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