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Air Canada Now 70

Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:14 am

Surprised to not see a reference to this already, but today Air Canada is 70 years old.

On September 1, 1937, a Lockheed 10A of then Trans-Canada Airlines flew the first revenue service from Vancouver to Seattle, inaugurating the airline. Within eighteen months, transcontinental service started between Montreal and Vancouver. IIRC, the routing was Montreal - North Bay - Kapuskasing - Armstrong (optional) - Winnipeg - Regina - Lethbridge - Vancouver, sunrise to sunset service, more or less. Connector service from Toronto to North Bay was also offered, as well as Lethbridge - Calgary - Edmonton.

During the war years additional routes were opened to most major cities in Canada, to New York, and to Newfoundland, which at that time was self-governing. Trans-Atlantic service started I believe in 1943 with Avro Lancastrians (converted bombers, room for 10 pax + mail) initially to Prestwick, then to London.

After the war, as evidenced around the world, TCA grew exponentially, starting extensive European and Caribbean services, and started to build a very large network of services to various American destinations. Of great importance in 1999 was the purchase of Canadian Airlines, which had both positive and negative effects, many of which are still being worked out within AC.

Many have in the past criticized AC's customer service (or lack of, seemingly) standards, but I truly believe that a) as a now private firm, and b) suffering a near-death experience in 2003, there is a new attitude amongst the front-line staff, who have helped reshape the public image of the company. 'Behind the scenes', maintenance and technical services are top-notch, AC has always been recognized as one of the world leaders in this area (big point: my Dad worked for 32 years in AC maintenance, from servicing the L10As to signing out 747s after major mx).

Happy Birthday, Air Canada, and many more to come !
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.