Following the arrival of its DC-6 four years later the airline took delivery of its first jet and Canada’s first Boeing - a 727 named 'Cy Becker'. The sole 727 was joined two years later by 707s enabling non-stop transatlantic charters to begin. The 727 actually set a range record flying from Windsor to Gatwick in 1970.
Wardair spent much of its time fighting the establishment, which did its best to curtail Wardairs operations in favour of CP Air and Air Canada. This didn't affect the airline's profitability though and in 1973 it accepted its first 747!
In the same year the 727 departed the fleet. CF-FUN went to Cruzeiro do Sul where she became PP-CJI. She remained with them for twenty years before sale to AVESCA Colombia as HK-3770. In 1994 she moved to Aerocar and became HK-3770X and the following year to SATENA. She was withdrawn in September 1997 and used as a restaurant.
Unlike most charter carriers Wardair was a different beast. It won the IATA International Service Award four years running, and constantly made the list of top world carriers. I quote:
'Wardair, as a charter operation, was an oddity in that particular industry. Max Ward had exceedingly high standards which pertained to ground and on-board service (and maintenance). Wardair quickly won a well desrved international reputation, and held on to it for a long time, as an elegant, well groomed operation. The Wardair aircraft cabins were plush and inviting, their pax agent and FA's received stringent customer service training. WD pax were presented very high quality meals on exclusive Royal Doulton chinaware, designed specifically for Wardair.'
The first two DC-10s, C-GXRB and RC, arrived from November 1978. A third DC-10 was purchased second-hand from Singapore Airlines. This aircraft, C-GFHX, was originally 9V-SDA delivered to SIA on 23rd October 1978 and sold to Wardair in October 1981.
By 1980 the airline had 4 747s and 2 DC-10s but Max Ward wasn't satisfied and like Freddie Laker wanted to join the scheduled club and fight with the big boys. The 1984 start of deregulation in Canada gave him his chance and within a few years Wardair was serving Puerto Rico, the UK and France with scheduled services as well as building its own scheduled network inside Canada.
This expansion into scheduled services would eventually kill Wardair. The airline ordered a new fleet of A310s, MD88s and F100s of which only 12 of the A310s were delivered replacing the 747s and DC-10s.
C-GFHX, ‘Stan McMillan’ went to rival Canadian Airlines for a year before service with Minerva (later AOM) as F-GGMZ. Returned to the lessor in 1994 she became XA-SYE with TAESA in June 1995 before lease to Premiair as OY-CNO. In 1999 she went to their sister airline Airtours as G-BYDA and she continued in service after they were renamed MyTravel until late 2004. Ferried to Kemble she was scrapped in 2005.
Wardair itself couldn't compete with Canadian and Air Canada domestically and was bleeding red ink at the same time it was paying out money for new aircraft. Ward sold out the carrier to Canadian's PWA owners in 1989. He made C$70 million out of the deal, which has been seen as a major strategic mistake on the part of Canadian
There's lots of great info about the airline to be found here:
Max Ward and Wardair
Memories Of Wardair Canada — Civil Aviation Forum | Airliners.net
Wardair - What If? — Civil Aviation Forum | Airliners.net
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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: