By Shayla Bradley
The North West Company will no longer use Wasaya Airways to deliver freight shipments to northwestern Ontario communities, a decision Wasaya says its First Nation owners do not support.
“Wasaya has been delivering food for the North West Company to both our ownership and non-ownership communities for over 10 years,” the company said in a statement. “As a First Nation owned airline, we have always researched and found ways to provide cost effective services to help keep the cost down of delivering food to the north.
“At Wasaya, we value our First Nation communities and residents. We work with our partners to deliver best practices to ensure the economic growth in communities. It is in the best interest of our First Nation owners to have food and cargo delivered into their communities by the airline they own. There is no benefit to these communities to have another airline delivering their cargo. Our ownership communities earn dividends from supporting their own airline. Outsourcing to another airline is not a favourable decision and is not one our First Nation owners support.”
In a July 9 letter to Jim Ballingall, Wasaya’s vice president of sales, North West Company director of transportation Robert Forde said the company will use its own air network within the region.
“Please know that North West values our relationship and there is likely an opportunity to utilize your services in the future through charter agreements arranged through North Star Air,” he wrote.
The North West Company announced its acquirement of North Star Air in April 2017.