First Air eyes NWT Air
Books under scrutiny by prospective buyer

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 24/97) - First Air has expressed interest in purchasing NWT Air and it's in the process of examining the company's operations and finances.

The expression of interest and examination phase, called "due diligence," is confirmed by Air Canada's media relations manager Nicole Couture-Simard.

Couture-Simard would not say why Air Canada is interested in selling other than, "it's a responsible thing for a business to consider proposals."

She said if First Air does decide to put forward a formal proposal, "I think we would be considering it."

She said NWT Air's 1996 reported losses were "not necessarily" the reason for Air Canada's interest in continuing the discussions of a possible purchase.

"Air Canada is waiting to hear back from First Air to see what they propose," said Couture-Simard.

Air Canada is the sole shareholder of NWT Air which was acquired in 1988.

The previous year, NWT Air formed an alliance with Air Canada, establishing a western Canada cargo hub at Edmonton.

There are currently 200 employees with NWT Air, many of them in the North. Some are also based in Winnipeg and Edmonton.