DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Wardair Canada (WD) was acquired by rival Canadian Airlines International (CP) in 1989 in a deal worth C$250m. The takeover would give CP a ready-made network in Eastern Canada, where it previously had little market share.
The purchase also gave the CP access to numerous new routes, including the UK and Europe, which the carrier had sought for many years.
Wardair was established in 1953 by Maxwell W. Ward, initially as a domestic carrier. In 1962, it began transatlantic charter flights, introducing the Boeing 707 in 1968 and the 747 in 1973. WD was a considerable success as a charter carrier, winning the IATA International Service Award four years running.
The carrier introduced scheduled passenger services in 1986. Despite plans to challenge the established Canadian airlines, WD immediately ran into financial difficulties. Issues with its reservation system and over-expansion meant the airline ‘simply ran out of money.’
Canadian Airlines History
Canadian Airlines International traces its history back to March 1987, when Pacific Western Airlines (PW) purchased Canadian Pacific/CP Air (CP). The combined carriers took on the name Canadian Airlines International. Its fleet consisted of nine McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30s for international routes, plus 70 737-200s for domestic operations.
However, the takeover wasn’t as straightforward as CP would have hoped. In April 1989, American Airlines (AA) attempted to bid WD after Canadian regulatory bodies announced their concerns over the merger’s duopoly.
Canadian went on to streamline its operation but struggled financially throughout the 1990s. In 2000, CP was acquired by Air Canada (AC) and fully integrated into the flag carrier by January 2001.
Featured image: Three DC-10-30s would be operated for long-haul services from 1978. (Photo: Andrew Thomas from Shrewsbury, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)