Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's ninth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, an alliance of 26 member airlines formed in 1997. Air Canada's largest hub is Toronto Pearson International Airport, located in Mississauga, Ontario, while its corporate headquarters are located in Montreal, Quebec. The airline's parent company is the publicly traded firm ACE Aviation Holdings. Air Canada had passenger revenues of CA$9.7 billion in 2008.
Canada's national airline originated from the Canadian federal government's 1936 creation of Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), which began operating its first transcontinental flight routes in 1938. In 1965, TCA was renamed Air Canada following government approval. Following the 1980s deregulation of the Canadian airline market, the airline was privatized in 1988. In 2001, Air Canada acquired its largest rival, Canadian Airlines. In 2006, 34 million people flew with Air Canada as the airline celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Air Canada operates a fleet of Airbus A330, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777 wide-body jetliners on long-haul routes, and uses Airbus A320 family aircraft, including the A319, A320, and A321 variations and Embraer E170/E190 family aircraft on short-haul routes. They have 37 B 787-800 on order and 23 options with deliveries starting in 2013. The carrier's operating divisions include Air Canada Cargo and Air Canada Jetz. Its subsidiary, Air Canada Vacations, provides vacation packages to over 90 destinations. Together with its regional partners, the airline operates on average more than 1,370 scheduled flights daily. Air Canada Jazz provides service to and from lower density markets as well as higher density markets at off-peak times throughout Canada and to and from certain destinations in the United States. As of May 1, 2007, Air Canada Jazz operated scheduled passenger service on behalf of Air Canada with approximately 827 departures per weekday to 56 destinations in Canada and 28 destinations in the United States with a fleet of 135 aircraft. Air Canada announced the creation of a new LCLC (Low Cost leisure Airline) to compete on routes to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and other popular vacation spots in March 2011.
Canada's predecessor, Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), was created by legislation of the federal government as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway (CNR) on 11 April 1936.The newly created Department of Transport under Minister C. D. Howe desired an airline, under government control, to link cities on the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. Using $5 million in government seed money, two Lockheed Model 10 Electras and one Boeing Stearman biplane were purchased from Canadian Airways. Experienced airline executives from United Airlines and American Airlines were brought in.
Passenger operations began on 1 September 1937, with an Electra carrying two passengers and mail from Vancouver to Seattle, a $14.20 round trip. On 1 July 1938, TCA hired its first flight attendants.Transcontinental routes from Montreal to Vancouver began on 1 April 1939, using 12 Lockheed Model 14 Super Electras and six Lockheed Model 18 Lodestars. By January 1940 the airline had grown to about 500 employees.
In 1942, Canadian Pacific Airlines suggested merging with TCA. Prime Minister Mackenzie King rejected the proposal and introduced legislation regulating TCA as the only airline in Canada allowed to provide transcontinental flights. With the increase in air travel after World War II, CP Air was granted one coast-to-coast flight, and a few international routes.
Originally headquartered in Winnipeg, which was also the site of the national maintenance base, the federal government moved the headquarters to Montreal in 1949; the maintenance base later also moved east. With the development of the ReserVec in 1953, TCA became the first airline in the world to use a computer reservation system with remote terminals.
By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada's national airline, and in 1964 Jean Chrétien submitted a private member's bill to change the name of the airline from Trans-Canada Airlines to Air Canada. This bill failed, but it was later resubmitted and passed, with the name change taking effect on 1 January 1965.
Read Part 2 of the Air Canada History
Wed, Apr 20 2011 11:21 AM
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