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Why Did Canadi>n Airlines Fail?  
User currently offlineAWspicious From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3761 times:

With the (predictable) news of Air Canada filing for bankruptcy protection, my thoughts ran to Canadi>n Airlines. I often read and hear so many good sentiments about Canadian Airlines from former employees, aviation enthusiasts, and the like, and this one question suddenly came to mind: What went wrong? If so many people liked Canadi>n, why is the airline no longer with us?
I'm interested to hear from former employees, financial experts, aviation industry watchdogs/enthusiasts... and even armchair airline CEOs. :-]

Regards
AW

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3705 times:

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing Smile However, as a former employee of Canadian Regional, I don't miss Canadian. It was poorly managed, and years of paycuts, share purchase plans, new CEOs, and assorted employee morale programs did nothing to hide the fact that it was dying a slow death. The selfishness of each union and employee group didn't help either. The best thing I did was leave. I do feel sorry for those ex CDN employees who thought their troubles were over, only to go through it all again. These people are under a lot of stress, so keep that in mind before anyone flames them for being overpaid/underworked, blah, blah, blah.....

User currently offlineSlawko From Canada, joined May 1999, 3799 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3676 times:

I agree with AVT007 nostaligia is great, but that doesnt cover up the fact that CP was a very poorly run airline...Government involvement in the industry didnt help matters much either.


"Clive Beddoe says he favours competition, but his actions do not support that idea." Robert Milton - CEO Air Canada
User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16259 posts, RR: 56
Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3662 times:

Prime mistakes by CP included new aircraft purchases such as the 744/320; the purchase of a near-bankrupt Wardair for C$200M with the resulting integration problems; domestic over-capacity by trying to match AC on all routes, among others.




Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineBoacvc10 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 613 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3645 times:

The critical mistake for CP was the purchase of Wardair in 1989. Yes I know WD was great, but the acquisition made little sense. The move was intended to remove a very pesky competitor while bulking up for a 50% market share goal. In the end, they were saddled with staggering WD debt, aircraft to dispose of (mainly A310's) and route duplication, just as a major recession hit the industry.

CP were in a weakened position and unable to fight effectively with the cash rich AC who had benefited from years as the state-run airline.

Sadly they were never able to recover.



Up, up and Away!
User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3632 times:

Rant = ON

Why does everyone insist on using that irritating ">" symbol when referring to Canadian Airlines? It was only used on the aircraft as a get-out to overcome the French/English bilingual hurdle, but since this forum discusses things in English then there's no need for it.

It's only pandering to the marketeers and since we don't refer to Aeroflot in Cyrillic then I don't see why people can't speak English when referring to Canadian. What exactly is anyone trying to prove by inserting that dumb arrow, except a tendency towards extreme anality?

Next thing you know, we'll be talking about Air A!ps or, worse, ^litalia. I suspect I'm alone here, but I think that some self-extraction from "geek mode" would be most refreshing...

Rant = OFF

[Edited 2003-04-03 21:53:34]

User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3612 times:

Holy crap, I've never seen anyone rant about something so utterly meaningless. A suggestion for you sir:

-remove pants
-bend down on all fours
-reach behind you
-remove pickle from a$$



buhh bye
User currently offlineCaptaingomes From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 6413 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3611 times:

Uhhhhh, the only case of "extreme anality" so far in this thread was your post. Also, the > was only used in the title, while the text of any message containing the name, had "proper English."

Regardless, I think we all miss Canadi>n!



"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3574 times:

Holy crap, I've never seen anyone rant about something so utterly meaningless

You must be new here, then. Wait until you find the latest interminably dull Qantas/Quantas debate... Big grin

[remainder edited to protect those with senses of neither humour nor irony]

[Edited 2003-04-03 22:52:01]

User currently offlinePetazulu From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

I agree with Backfire. The ">" thing needs to go away!
Its pedantic and people who use it are trying to show that they are beyond cool. Which makes them a little uncool if you ask me.


User currently offlineSR71 From Canada, joined Apr 2001, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3543 times:

Canadian Airlines ran up against the same thing that plagues most poorly managed airlines today!!! That would be POOR MANAGEMENT!
Although it spent money unwisely it was somewhat more organized and flexible with it's employees.


User currently offlineFLYYUL From Italy, joined Jun 2000, 4980 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3529 times:

What the heck is this..

THat was total bs..

Canadian failed because it duplicated many of Air Canada's routes. matched Air Canada frequency for frequency on many routes, and as a result, yields were pretty much non-existant...

Canadian's saving grace, per many articles, was their Asian network..... Everything else... bah..

Mark


User currently offlineWestjet_8 From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 451 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3501 times:

Canadain (for money)

Negatives
First as FLYYUL said they matched Air Canada on most of its routes,
They had troble everywhere east of Calgary except for Toronto
Got absoltly crushed on every route in and out of Montreal
Old 737 fleet had higher fuel costs then Air Canada's A319's and DC9's
Aquired 767's, A320's and 747's at large costs
High service good meals (not like AC), stuff for kids like sticker books
Bad managment
Not as many transborder routes as AC
Crap gates at YUL and YYC(B concoruse)

Positives
Pacific Routes
New Vancouver terminal

Neutrals (or unknowns)
Swiching terminals at YYZ (T1-T3)
European Routes?
South American Routes?



Canadian. RIP 1999
User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16259 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3458 times:

Another thing that hurt CP was the general unwillingness of Quebecers to fly on what was perceived as "English Canada's" national airline.


Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineFallingeese From Canada, joined Apr 2001, 2097 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3410 times:

Criticize as you may, but in my opinion the initial struggles go way back, to the conception of Canadian. Pacific Western was a profitable carrier, CP Air was less than so, and with a large company such as Canadian Pacific to "assist" the books, Pacific Western placed the burden on Canadian from the very beginning. The WardAir purchase was another poorly planned, and executed maneuver. The debt load, handicapped the for the future, let's not forget the Gulf War, and rising fuel costs aswell.


Mark McWhirter...Contrails Photography
User currently offlineAWspicious From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

HUMOUR = ON

BackFire;
I think your user name seems somewhat symbolic.

HUMOUR = OFF.


Petazulu;
No one asked you. What I think is cool, however, is everyone else choosing to ignore your flatulence.




Regards
AW


User currently offlineQB737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

Hey Backfire!


French = on

Cause Canada is a bilingual country and you probably can't
understand that we (The Québécois) are attached to our mother tongue. Do I detect a bit of Imperialism?

French = off

Sorry guys, I had to get it our of my system.


Benoît


User currently offlineMarcus From Mexico, joined Apr 2001, 1798 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3363 times:

Ah Quebecois.....accent difficile a comprendre pour moi  Smile


Kids!....we are going to the happiest place on earth...TIJUANA! signed: Krusty the Clown
User currently offlineQB737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3355 times:

Now that being said.

The doodoo started to hit the fan when they purchased Wardair and their debt. That was too sad cause both of them were great airlines with real friendly staff. I have fond memories of flying on both.

Yyz717, CP shot themselves in the foot with Québec when they launched that special "Québec we love you" fares, available from Western Canada to Québec and not the other way around, just before the last referendum on sovereignty. That was poor management in my own opinion. That was a very sad chapter on Canadian history and hopefully won't happen again.

Benoît


User currently offlineKdonohue From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 375 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3307 times:

All previous posts show good examples of why Canadian failed. Horribly mismanaged, and the takeover of Wardair and other regional carriers was a big mistake, and we never learned our history, because the same thing is happening to Air Canada. PWA assumed a huge debt load when it took over these airlines, and it could never shake this debt.

On top of that, management at Canadian were never satisfied with being Canada's number 2 airline. They wanted to be bigger and better than AC, but they could never do it, because AC had newer aircraft, more routes to the US. Canadian should have been content on doing what it did well, but it wanted to compete head-to-head with Air Canada and lost.

But government interference from Day 1 really set Canadian back. The only reason CP had such a big Asian network was because AC never wanted to fly there in the 1940s and '50s, so CP took those routes. Air Canada had all the profitable routes to Europe. Of course in the last couple of decades CP's routes to Asia became very profitable and ultimately coveted by Air Canada.

Getting access to London was only done by acquiring Wardair, a decision that ultimately led to Canadian's demise.

Awspicious, I don't know if you have an old copy of Airways laying about, but I wrote a piece on Canadian that appeared in the January 2001 issue.

My first flight was on one CPAir's big orange DC-10s from YVR-AMS, and the best service I have ever had on a flight was about 7 years to HNL. The flight attendant serving us was an older guy, who had probably been working for the airline for decades and he learned his trade at a time when service was something. It was great to see.









User currently offlineFLYYUL From Italy, joined Jun 2000, 4980 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3282 times:

Again..

How can one say it was Quebeckers fault for Canadian's demise.. Neil, this is where your sound ignorant, and I strongly caution you not to use this rhetoric.

Canadian FLEW 4 routes out of Montreal.. again 4 ROUTES.. again 4 ROUTES

YYZ-YUL-FCO 2 weekly
YUL-YYC daily
YUL-YVR 2 daily
YUL-YYZ shuttle service, matched AC frequency for frequency....

They didnt fly anywhere to the USA, didnt fly anywhere international but FCO, and offered 3 domesitc routes.

And this is QUEBEC's fault??

Right...

Mark


User currently offlineAWspicious From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3264 times:

Ken;
I'll see if I can track down the issue you mentioned. Thanks for your response.

Regards
AW


User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16259 posts, RR: 56
Reply 22, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3249 times:

How can one say it was Quebeckers fault for Canadian's demise.. Neil, this is where your sound ignorant, and I strongly caution you not to use this rhetoric.

I did not say that. I said it was a contributing factor. Before you say I "sound ignorant".....try reading what I wrote first.





Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineFLYYUL From Italy, joined Jun 2000, 4980 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3241 times:

Neil..

How can you assert, that an airline flying 4 routes out of a city is part of its downfall.

If Canadi>n didnt feel that Montreal wasnt part of their strategy, then you would have seen CP on a lot more routes out of Montreal. Yet, you saw them literally on 4 ROUTES versus AC's 40-50 routes....

CP's YUL ops accounted for maybe less than 5% of their total flight ops ... and their lack of presence in Quebec is something they openly decided.

In the market, one thing rules... Money talks. If you are cheaper, it doesnt matter if you tape me to the wing Big grin , most people will opt for what is cheapest, and most convenient... Canadi>n was neither of those out of Montreal..

If politics was such a big deal, then Quebeckers would not fly British Airways, Canada 3000, MyTravel, and SkyService.. they would also not fly WestJet, Northwest, American, Delta etc.. and AIR CANADA.. LOL  Big thumbs up

C'Mon man..

Mark


User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16259 posts, RR: 56
Reply 24, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks ago) and read 3243 times:

When Canadian was around, there was much discussion among analysts about their inability to break into the Quebec market due to loyalty to AC (which is a Quebec airline).

If politics was such a big deal, then Quebeckers would not fly British Airways, Canada 3000, MyTravel, and SkyService.. they would also not fly WestJet, Northwest, American, Delta etc.. and AIR CANADA.. LOL

YUL remains an overwhelmingly AC market. C3 had similar problems gaining Quebec market share. BA's presence in YUL is the smallest of any city in NA >3M. MyTravel & WJ......do not fly to YUL.



Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
25 Post contains images FLYYUL : YYZ remains an overwhelmingly AC market. Canada 3000 offered over 150 flights a week out of Montreal at its peak, no problems here. BA does not fly to
26 Ndege : They f>iled bec>use they didn't h>ve > consistent logo scheme. You c>n't expect to be t>ken seriously if you only ch>nge one letter in your n>me to >
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