Pacific Western Airlines had been formed as a bush-flying enterprise in 1946 named Central British Columbia Airlines. Between 1949 and 1952 it acquired seven other bush-flyers and became PWA in 1953. True operation as a scheduled regional airline (one of five) began in 1959 when Canadian Pacific transferred route authority for 18 services from Edmonton to Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. This was just the start and PWA would grow not only to become the most successful of the five regionals but also to eventually takeover CP Air and join the big time...
Air Ontario was formed in 1981 when Great Lakes Airlines was renamed. Its growth during the 1980s would see its merger with Austin Airways and affiliation with Air Canada, however even though it was a successful commuter, which would go on to form one of the central components of Air Canada Jazz, not all its moves paid off. Certainly the purchase of a pair of F28 Fellowships would not be the success that its first pure jet service hoped for and in fact would end in tragedy.
Trans Canada Airlines was one of only three airlines that ordered the DC-8-40 with Rolls Royce Conway engines (the others were Alitalia and Canadian Pacific). They entered service on transcontinental routes in April 1 1960 followed by international sectors on June 1.
Four DC-8-41s (CF-TJA-D), four DC-8-42s (CF-TJE-H) and three DC-8-43s (CF-TJJ-TJK) arrived up to December 16 1961. The series 40s with their older engines were the first DC-8s to leave the fleet being withdrawn from September 1975 to June 1979.
As discussed in the Trans-Canada history Air Canada officially came into existence on January 1 1965, though the Queen had actually travelled on the first Air Canada liveried aircraft in 1964. That new livery introduced the maple leaf on the tail, black titles and a red cheatline with black anti-glare sloping down from the cockpit to the nose. It was designed by the firm Stewart, Morrison & Roberts.
Canada's major two airlines both sprung from railroad companies at quite a late stage, when it was clear war was approaching and aviation was growing rapidly in the neighbouring USA. Trans Canada Airlines was started by the Crown Corporation Canadian National Railways (CNR) in 1937. From 1943-1947 TCA operated the Canadian Government Trans-Atlantic Air Service to provide trans-Atlantic military passenger and postal delivery service using Avro Lancastrian (modified Avro Lancaster) aircraft. Postwar the service became a civilian route.
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.
In 1968 Canadian Pacific became CP Air when its owner, the Canadian Pacific Railway, decided to align all its brands. Each of Canadian Pacific's divisions (CP Rail, CP Transport, CP Express, CP Ships, CP Telecommunications, CP Hotels and CP Air) gained a linked branding using the new Multi-mark arrow logo. The arrow depicted motion, the semi-circle global service and the square stability. Each division gained a dominant colour with CP Air getting Orange. This led to the advertising firm 'Lippincott & Margulies' who were responsible for the makeover coming up with the slogan "Orange is beautiful". The new livery first appeared on new 737-200s in October 1968.
Canadian Pacific / CP Air has so many parallels with British Caledonian that they seem almost like sister companies. Its history is one of constant battling, attempting to compete against the chosen instrument (Air Canada) in a regulated environment where the Government rigged the fight and only occasionally threw it a few bones. Kept on a short leash its hardly a major surprise it was never the huge success it perhaps deserved to be, however it still has a rich and impressive history.
Norcanair could trace its history back to M&C Aviation of 1930. From 1947 it was known as Saskatchewan Government Airways (Saskair). The fleet was a mixed bag typical of Canadian bush operators - PBY Cansos, Beech 18s, DC-3s, DHC-2 Beavers etc. Scheduled services operated to over 20 destinations within the state from its base at Prince Albert. Privatised in 1964 it became Norcanair serving charters and north-south scheduled services in Saskatchewan.
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: