First Air debuts new plane on Yellowknife-Hay River route

First Air ATR 42-500
A First Air ATR 42-500. First Air photo
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First Air says it’s beginning to modernize its fleet with the introduction of new-look passenger aircraft.

The airline’s first new ATR 42-500 series aircraft took to the NWT skies on Tuesday. The 42-seat plane will primarily operate a scheduled service between Yellowknife and Hay River.

First Air plans to gradually replace its fleet of older 300-series aircraft with the newer 500 series, which the airline believes offers better performance and a more comfortable flight for passengers.

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In a news release celebrating the aircraft’s arrival, First Air said updating its fleet was a “key component” in a three-year restructuring program as the company searches for financial stability.

First Air’s Bert van der Stege previously said operating losses since 2010 have been ‘unsustainable’.

“We are excited to invest in a more modern fleet of aircraft, well-suited for the North,” van der Stege said in Tuesday’s news release.

First Air is investing $110 million in new aircraft, with more ATR 42-500s set to arrive later this year.

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