Northern airline First Air and its parent company fired longtime president and chief executive officer Bob Davis this week.

The decision to remove Davis, who had headed First Air since December 1997, was made Wednesday by First Air and by Makivik Corp., the Quebec Inuit organization that owns the airline.

George Berthe, Makivik's corporate secretary, would not say why Davis was fired, but he said there have been disagreements between First Air and Davis in the past.

"We were looking at the years past and the years we've been working together, and we have differences of opinion on past decisions," Berthe told CBC News on Thursday.

"It was just a time for us to move on to new management. It was difficult for us to come to this decision."

Davis, an aircraft maintenance engineer with a 30-year aviation career, joined First Air as its president and CEO after spending 19 years as executive vice-president of Air Inuit Ltd.

Berthe would not say what the disagreements were, or how far back the conflict between First Air and Davis existed.

"I cannot say how long the planning has taken place, but once the decision was made, we executed the decision and implemented our firing," he said.

Scott Bateman, who has been First Air's vice-president of commercial operations since 1998, was appointed interim president.

Bethe said he does not know when the airline will hire a new president.

First Air began in 1946 as Bradley Air Services, offering charter, surveying, passenger and cargo flights across northern Canada.

Today, the company says it provides scheduled passenger and cargo service between 25 northern communities with connections to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa, and says its 17 aircraft — including two Hercules — are available for charters around the world.