In 1986, Hope Air – then called Mission Air Transportation Network – was co-founded by two women, Joan Rogers and Jinnie Bradshaw, who were inspired to start the charity after witnessing the impact of long-distance travel on cancer care patients at Princess Margaret Hospital.
On a brisk November day, Hope Air arranged its first flight for a Canadian to get from their home to the hospital – a child from New Brunswick travelled to Toronto for cancer treatment. In that first year, the charity arranged 56 flights.
Since then, Hope Air has arranged more than 120,000 free flights for low-income Canadians travelling to vital medical care far from home.
On June 7th, a letters patent is issued to incorporate Mission Air Transportation Network.
The first Mission Air flight takes off on November 8th, carrying a young girl from New Brunswick to Toronto for cancer treatment. RBC®, a Hope Air supporter to this day, generously provides the first flight on their corporate plane.
Commercial airlines begin supporting Mission Air by donating seats on their aircraft.
Canadian Airlines designates Mission Air as its preferred charity for donations of Canadian Plus travel points.
The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc becomes the first Vice-Regal Patron of Mission Air. Since then, all succeeding Governor Generals of Canada have become Hope Air Vice-Regal Patrons, including Adrienne Clarkson, Michaëlle Jean and David Johnston.
WestJet is founded and immediately becomes a Mission Air supporter, donating seats on flights across the country to our patients. WestJet remains today an exceptional and highly valued Hope Air partner.
The Volunteer Pilot Program launches, supported by generous pilots who volunteer their time flying patients to appointments on their personal aircraft.
Marc Garneau becomes Hope Air’s first National Honorary Patron. Other Honorary Patrons include Roberta Bondar and Rick Mercer.
RBC Rewards® launches its points donation program with Hope Air as a designated charity beneficiary.
Hope Air implements its proprietary data management system, HealthNet.
Hope Air introduces its annual Spirit of Hope Awards in recognition of distinguished volunteerism.
With donated funds from corporations, foundations, individuals, and special events, Hope Air launches the Flight Purchase Program to augment flights donated by commercial airlines or flights flown by Hope Air’s volunteer pilots.
NAV CANADA employees hold their first golf tournament in support of Hope Air.
Hope Air celebrates its 100,000th flight over the course of its 29-year history.
Hope Air turns 30!
Hope Air partners with PEI’s provincial government to provide Confederation Bridge Passes to Islanders who must travel off the Island to healthcare. This marks the first time in its history that Hope Air provides ground travel to patients.