The 1979 OPEC oil crisis, triggered by the Iranian Revolution, threw CP Air's equipment plans into chaos. As already described in part 2 the airline had bought new DC-10s, but it had also ordered four of Boeing's, then new, 767-200s (along with four options) for its North Atlantic routes. With the resulting global recession CP Air was instead looking for fleet rationalisation rather than expansion and the 767s would never see service.
CP Air had already retired its 727-100s but now the pair of 727-200s delivered in 1975, and used exclusively for Californian services, were also sold and the 767 order eventually cancelled. In its place CP Air decided to order five 737-300s (with five options) and the first arrived in April 1985. It was actually to be the only one ever to wear CP Air's orange scheme as the next two wore a new livery - that of Attaché.
Attaché was a business class offshoot of CP Air - possibly the first airline within an airline attempted. Operating from Toronto, for a 5% higher fare businessmen could fly in a roomier configured 737 and have priority baggage and check-in. Routes included three daily Winnipeg-Toronto and Toronto-Halifax and two daily Toronto-Vancouver services. The idea was not a success, as pretty much all business class only and airline within an airline attempts have been since.
Already operating 737-200s, and with the recently acquired Eastern Provincial also operating the type, CP Air took the retrograde step of deciding to standardise on the series 200. This resulted in the three delivered series 300s being sold to Guiness Peat Aviation (GPA) and swapped for more 737-200s. C-FCPJ became PP-SNS with VASP and in 1993 N686SW with Southwest. She was retired on 27th November 2012. CP Air was unable to cancel its remaining two 737-300 orders and they were also delivered, though both wore the new Canadian Pacific/Pacifique scheme for their brief six month services before they too were traded to GPA.
The fleet rationalisation also saw the DC-10 United swap deal and the PIA 747 swap - both discussed in part 2 but CP Air actually took its last DC-10 into service as late as 1982. This eighth aircraft was almost new having previously been 9V-SDC, with Singapore Airlines (SIA). She became GCPJ ‘Empress of Rome’ and had only been delivered to Singapore in January 1979.
Liberalisation of the air traffic market in the early 1980s allowed CP Air to expand into new Asian markets, but it also had to contend with competition from Air Canada and the aforementioned economic downturn. These contributed to $1 billion of debt. The airline looked to reinvent itself and in January 1986 reverted to its old name: Canadian Pacific - with one side of each aircraft showing French 'Canadien Pacifique' titles. The new blue business-like livery was designed by Vancouver based West Graphika and modernised the Multimark into the Motionmark, now with five stripes representing the five continents operated to. However less than a year later the entire airline was sold to Pacific Western (PWA) for $300 million and the resulting merged airline was rebranded as Canadian Airlines International (though the livery effectively remained the same). The DC-10s continued to be long-haul workhorses and PJ wasn’t retired until late 1996. In 1998 she joined Continental, as N35084, but was permanently withdrawn in June 2002.
Canadian battled it out with Air Canada until 2001 but that's another story!
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: