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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2000 4:16 am


Mon Oct 16, 2000 2:31 am

whatever happen to Wardair canada
Posts: 658
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 12:15 am

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 2:47 am

Just a few weeks ago I flew with a DL Capt who started at WardAir then went to Pan Am and is now at the twilight of his career at DL. He had some fascinating things to say about navigation around the North Pole. Mag compasses tend to spin around like a top in those areas and if you're lost, putting the sun on your shoulder doesn't seem to help either. Star shooting and transpolar navigation seemed to be his stronger points, and Pan Am had a wonderful staff of instructors thought the end. Delta subsequently fired these instructors and they never seemed to get the jist of Tans-polar navigation as of a few years ago when LAX-FRA was on the route map, DL avoided transpolar flts and swooped down over Canada and the northern US to avoid the complexities involved...I digress I thought that their planes were picked up by Arrow (DC-8's) and the routes picked up by MArkAir...just a guess on all of these but there aren't a lot of Alaska stories on the site and thought I'd throw a pocket full of change at you rather than just 2 cents.

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 3:59 am

They ran into financial trouble as several things were happening simultaneously:
Canada became Open Skies (something Wardair had been waiting for for years),

the computer reservation of Wardair Canada turned out to be a big failure, incompatible with everyone else's, I believe, and hardly any travel offices booked Wardair flights if there were alternatives available

frequent flyer mile programs were very popular, and no one wanted to start a new account with a new expanding airline like Wardair (i.e. no business passengers - the paying crowd)

and there were more other problems. I can only recommend you to read "The Max Ward Story: A bushpilot in the bureaucratic Jungle" - it is a wonderful book.

In the end it was taken over by Canadian and integrated... I think Canadian had one of their 744s named after Max Ward and that's it.
Samurai 777
Posts: 2000
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 2:56 pm

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 4:11 am

Interesting, Exusair, but I don't think that's the answer Nasmal was looking for!

This is from an earlier post I made in in response to someone who wanted to learn more about Wardair.

Wardair Canada was a major Canadian charter airline from the 1950s to its demise in 1989. It was named after Maxwell W. Ward, who was a well-known Canadian bush pilot born in Edmonton, Alberta. He started the airline in 1953, but didn't officially name it "Wardair Canada" until 1961. It was the first Canadian airline to purchase a Boeing jet, a 727, in 1966. Two years later, it took up a 707, and in the years since, Wardair had a fleet of DC-10-30s, 747-200s, 727-200s, and A310s. An order for about 16 MD-88s never materialized.

Ward had a lot of guts dealing with the Canadian bureaucracy in running his airline - and trying to sell tickets to chartered groups. Yet he managed to keep his airline going until it started sinking in debt (I think it ran up to about a billion dollars CDN) in 1989. The deregulation in the Canadian airline industry came too late for him to run Wardair as a scheduled carrier for very long - he was forced to sell Wardair to PWA Corp. (by that time PWA had already merged with CPAir to become Canadian Airlines) for $250 million. This is why the orders for the MD-88s never came. It was rumored that just before his airline was sold, Max only had enough cash on hand to keep the airline running for 15 days.

An interesting website about Max Ward and his airline can be found here:

In addition, Most, if not all of Wardair's A310-300s were sold to the Canadian Armed forces by Canadian Airlines to raise badly needed cash. They proved difficult to sell due to fears of a fuel crisis from the Gulf War. Canadian Airlines did keep them for a short while with Canadi>n titles replacing the Wardair one, but still retaining the Wardair paint scheme.

When PWA Corp. (the company that owned Canadian Airlines) bought up Wardair, it chose to assume Wardair's debt. Apparently, it was an unwise move on PWA's part, as PWA Corp (Canadian Airlines) also made other bad decisions regarding fleet management, causing the debt to rise still further. And layoffs took out most of Wardair's employees. The debt kept climbing right up until Air Canada bought Canadian in December, 1999.

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RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 6:20 am

As an addition to Samurai 777, it did indeed turn out to be a very bad move on the part of Canadian and the CEO of the time, Rhys Eyton.

Rhys made a "personal" decision to purchase Wardair and NOT a business decision. Rhys and Max were friends and this drove Rhys to help his friend.

As a result, a complete failure to read and interpret the pending market and future world trade broke down at Canadian.... Canadian wanted access to GB and as a result were willing to pull out of Amsterdam.... This was to happen eventually and Rhys along with Kevin Jenkins did not have the skill to see the future which so many carriers executive management do infact have and with time, Canadian could have had not only GB but LHR over time and not pay for Wardiar which was on the brink of bankruptcy. Eventually, Wardair brought absolutely nothing to the makeup of Canadian.

Please note I am not taking away anything from Max.... extrodinary airline! Period!


RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:24 am

Our first trip to Hawaii was on Wardair 747 C-FFUN "Romeo Vachon", YVR-HNL. What a wonderful time with a wonderful crew. Came home on CF-DJC "Phil Garrett". This was back in 1980. All the booze was free--one big party!
Posts: 1962
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 8:32 am

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:28 am

It's amazing. Max Ward made Wardair the most respected airline in Canada and then destroyed his own creation, to end up back where he started, up North flying bush planes.

When I flew Wardair, it always seemed that everyone onboard would talk about how good the service was compared to scheduled carriers like Air Canada and CP. Real China dishes and hefty cutlery on table cloths, not paper mats. And much more pleasant FAs. All for the same money or less than the majors. Many people considered flying Wardair to be a step up from Air Canada because of the special niceties. Instead of going charter, it was like going business class.

I flew them twice to Florida in the mid-'80s and once to England in '78.

Here is a photo I took from 1977.

Then Max decided he could compete with Air Canada on scheduled domestic routes and, of course, got slaughtered. I believe that Ward was too smart for such a colossal and obvious boo-boo. I believe that he was looking to sell Wardair at that junction in his life. He took it as far as it was going to go, and he wanted out with as much loot as he could carry. So he went scheduled in the hope of garnering a bigger price for his airline at the exact time that Canadian was looking to bulk themselves up in preparation for their new battle with Air Canada. And if Canadian didn't go for the bait, maybe Air Canada would have.

In the end, Ward got a very good price and took himself back North to the flying he loved. And as mentioned, Canadian got nothing but debt and misery. And ten years later, Air Canada got Canadian for a song and dance.

And the charter flyer got stuck with Air Transat. No china dishes, no good cutlery, no table cloths.

Max Ward giveth, and Max Ward taketh away.

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 10:34 am

I have spoken to Max Ward many times about aviation, as he makes frequent visits to Yelloknife, where he started to fly his Moth, brought his otter up and used to fly his twin, there is even a monument at the airport, a real Bristol Freighter painted in the blue Wardiar Colours on a rockface above some trees. Unfortunatley he crashed his Twin Otter this summer in Yellowknife Bay, the last flying plane, still with Wardair titles on it.
Wardairs financial trouble occured when the government would not let him go sked, when it finally came around it was to late. He had placed orders for many new planes including the MD-80 in the late 80's, when the buyout happened, the order was cancelled. I flew Wardair on my first trip to Europe, and the service was excellent, as so say others that have flown. I know an ex Wardair F/A who loved working for them, it was a good airline, and quite a shame they are no longer around.
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 10:52 am

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 12:30 pm

To add to comments on Wardair's scheduled operations. When they went sked in the '80's I think that was a mistake. Wardair was absolutely the best anywhere at it's charter type operations, but scheduled flying killed it. It's a different environment when you have to fly a sked: you fly regardless of whether or not the seats are full. The 310's proved too big at a time when the market was beginning to fragment into frequency based schedules. That, plus Ward lacked the feed from smaller centres. Ward ordered MD-88 and F.100 aircraft, but it was too late, before they were delivered the company was sold to PWA Corp, which cancelled the orders and sold the line positions.

RE: Wardair

Mon Oct 16, 2000 8:04 pm

Scheduled flying was not the error. The problem was that it became possible at an unfortunate time for the airline. Look at Canada 3000. As far as I know, they operate scheduled services within Canada, and "charter" services abroad - to Europe in the summer, to suny islands in the winter. That is exactly what Wardair could have been like. The only problem: Their scheduled services were introduced too late for business people to be interested, who were accumulating miles on other airlines' prgorammes. The A310s were too big though.

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