Airlines Remembered

Canadian Airlines International

Photos © R.Leeuw

Ceased operations: 2001
Homebase: Calgary, Canada
Founded: 1987
ICAO callsign: Canadian
Operations: Passengers

Seen at Calgary-YYC on 28Aug99 is Boeing 737-275(A) C-GAPW (c/n 20922 / 370).

Canadian Airlines International was formally established on 01Jan88, though it was formed in February 1987 when smaller regional carrier Pacific Western Airlines announced the purchase of Canadian Pacific Air Lines which was founded in 1942 and operated as CP Air from 1968 to 1986. CP Air had previously acquired regional carriers Eastern Provincial Airways (1984, the majority shareholding included a subsidiary named Air Maritime) and Nordair (1985). [Note to the latter- The info on EPA and Nordair is debatable: they were apparently purchased by PWA Corp., but remained separate subsidiaries -keeping their AOC-, distinct from Pacific Western Airlines & all Canadian registerrecords show transfers of the aircraft direct to CP Air, not via PWA; there is photographic material that supports this. -ATDB].

In 1989, in order to strengthen its position against Air Canada, it also took over Canada's largest private airline, Wardair.
Canadian received its first Boeing 767 in 1988 and in the later part of 1990 its first Boeing 747-400; the Airbus A320 was also added to the fleet.

Following approval by the Canadian regulatory authorities in 1995, AMR Corporation (the parent of American AL), took a 33 percent shareholding in Canadian Airlines Corporation, Canadian's parent company (which also had holdings in various other Canadian regional operators: e.g. Time Air, Air Atlantic, Ontario Express and Canadian Regional).

A seperate division of the airline, Canadian North, served the wide expanses of Canada's remote Northern areas. During the later part of 1999 there were fierce takeover battles between the major Canadian airlines. Together with its partner AMR, Canadian tried to acquire a majority in the national carrier Air Canada, but eventually the battle was won by Air Canada with help from its financially strong Star Alliance partners, taking 82 percent of the shares in Canadian...
Thus CAI became a mere subsidiary of Air Canada, a long fought battle finally lost !

During the first part of 2000, there was a redistribution of routes and responsibilities between the two airlines. Canadian continued to operate independently, but its aircraft were repainted into an Air Canada colourscheme.
In 2001 the famous CP-prefix disappeared from the aviation scene
The fleetlist in 2000 counted 44 Boeing 737-200s, 7 Airbus A320s, 14 Boeing 767-300s, 8 McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30s and 4 747-400s.
One of the Boeing 747-400s was named after Grant McConachie, founder of CP Air. The others were also named after famous aviation pioneers: Maxwell W.Ward, T.Russ Baker and Rhys T. Eyton (former President & CEO of Pacific Western AL)

C-GCPM with Canadian Goose livery
Boeing 737-275(A) C-GCPM (c/n 20959 / 395) in a simple but fabulous special livery, that of the Canadian Goose.

Canadian Airlines International on

AeroTransport Data Bank
JP Airline Fleets, 2000 edition
Airlines Worldwide, by B.I. Hengi (Midland Publishing, 2000)
Information provided by Ken Pickford, who worked for CP Air and Canadian from 1969 to 1994.

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