wayne albertson articlesAppreciation for Canadian Airlines International 

This year has marked the 80th anniversary of Air Canada as well as the 40th anniversary of the Air Canada Pionairs organization of retirees.

I hope that I am not offending anyone when, as an original Air Canada employee, I mention that this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of Canadian Airlines International. I spent the last fifteen years of my career working at the former C.A.I.L. Ops Centre in Vancouver with veterans from CP Air, Pacific Western, Eastern Provincial and Wardair and formed lasting friendships.

Personally, I think that there is little doubt that March 27, 1987 has become one of the most important dates in the history of aviation in Canada. C.A.I.L began with high ambitions that were very much needed in the airline environment. It was the end of complacency and the beginning of a turbulent era that has been the subject of many articles and books, initiated many legal proceedings and disrupted the lives of many people.

Strong feelings concerning the events of this era still exist within those affected but today they may be most prevalent among us retirees who continue our loyalties to the companies, unions and colleagues who we shared so many years of our lives.

Young people joining Air Canada today are entering a very exciting industry with a bright future. The legacy of Canadian Airlines International, and its people, played an important part in creating this future.  tmb c fcab

It is worth mentioning that the first aircraft fleet to enter service with the newly formed C.A.I.L. was the Boeing 767-300ER with the delivery of four aircraft in March 1988 and all four are still in service today.

Registrations C-FCAB, C-FCAE, C-FCAF and C-FCAG were originally numbered 631 to 634 respectively and then renumbered 681 to 684 after being transferred to the Air Canada fleet.

These are rare birds because all four have been in continuous service with C.A.I.L / Air Canada for close to thirty years under the same registrations.

In November 1965, scheduled service between Eastern Canada, Amsterdam/Rome was started.

1969 air gaspe 1376The airline Air Gaspe Inc, headquartered in Sept-Iles, Quebec, operated scheduled passenger and cargo flights from Gaspé to other Canadian cities in 1951, and became a subsidiary of Quebecair in 1973.

Quebecair operated until 1986.

(Source: Wikipedia)

We have this timetable effective May 1st, 1969 (from the collection of David Zekria.)

1955 June 3rd CPA inaugurated the first service between Vancouver and Amsterdam using the North Pole route and on May 4th 1959 CPA started the YUL – YVR service.
(Source: Vancouver Sun)

1932 - December 30 - Canadian Airways Ltd. was the last airline to issue airmail postage stamps that were authorized by the Post Office. This regional passenger and freight air service, based in Winnipeg, was established by James Richardson in 1930.

(Source: "Flyer" Spring issue Vol 35 Nr 2)

Found in the "Horizons" magazine dated December 1981.

tmb 588 Dec 1981December 4, 1981 - Opening of new hangar at YYZ. 

The new hangar contained Bays 6 and 7 and was connected on the east side to the original DC-8 hangar (Bays 1 through 5).

 "A" checks on the wide body fleet were done in Bay 6 with Bay 7 later converted for aircraft painting.

The 10th anniversary of the TCA Alumni took place in St. Petersburg, Florida recently. Main speaker was retired Executive V.P. Herb Seagrim.

Clint Morgan, a charter member of the Alumni reminisced on the formation of the organization and noted that it was the brainchild of Chuck Gibson, Bill Fabro and Percy Heffrer.

At head table was members of the executive which were in the middle of their two year term, Gordon Webster, President: Helen Moore, V.P; Jean Webster, Secretary/Treasurer; and Mary Young, Social Director.

Former Alumni President Bill Williamson was present as was George Fox, President of the larger and more formally organized Air Canada Pionairs, who announced the Pionairs annual meeting would be in Anaheim, California, May 14-17, 1982.

tmb horst wurmHere we have photos of some Vienna staff.

Sales Manager Horst Wurm plows through a stack of waiting documents.

tmb persidis grabnerPassenger Agents Catherine Persidis, left, and Christine Grabner discuss a ticketing matter at the City Sales Office.

tmb inge stinglWhile Senior Secretary Inge Stingl keeps the office running smoothly. 

Senior Passenger Agent Renate Andrea and Cargo Agent Hans Proidl are also part of the Vienna staff.

The Toronto chapter of the Pionairs held its first annual pre-Christmas function at the Old Mill on November 24th.

Seventy retirees and spouses were in attendance to listen to reports from District Director Gord Smith who introduced Pionairs President George Fox, V.P. Bill Spratt and Montreal District Director Evelyn Desjardins.

tmb cmwa emblemThe Canadian Maple Wings Association (CMWA) held its annual meeting in Toronto late in 1981 with more than 50 members present. This was the organization's first meeting since the previous year’s reunion when more than 1,000 participated in the weekend social activities.
tmb maple wings exec 1981Seated: Jean Wassmansdorf, Correspondence Secretary; Gretchen Marsh, President; Bev Stevens, Recording Secretary; Standing are Carol Anderson, First V.P.; Noreen Searson, Treasurer.

tmb saint john 120 year groupSaint John held a reception and dinner in late 1981 to honour 4 employees celebrating 120 years of service. Bob Taylor (20), Paul Mitchell (30), Bill Scott (35), Denise Richardson (35). Also in attendance were Airport Manager Jim Henderson and Saint John Manager Dave Russell. We have this photo of the group.

The first of a series of charter flights landed in Honolulu on November 3rd, 1981 carrying 156 happy passengers. The aircraft used was an L1011-500. On arrival Station Manager Alan Lock presented the female flight attendants with orchid leis.

tmb hnl charter first crewShown in the photo from the left, front row are: Flight Service Director Trev Trower; Flight Attendants Marg Walbank and Alix McNeilly; Alan Lock and Flight Attendant Margaret Redfern.

Back row: Second Officer Larry Obrien; Flight Attendant Kathy Gass; First Officer Lin Wolfe; Flight Attendant Sophie Szarek; Supervisor Mannie Eiberger; Flight Attendants Pat Ostrander and Betty Fasche; Captain A. Shaw, and Flight Attendant Marian Denyes.

tmb old tca insigniaThis photo, taken in 1944, shows a different insignia for TCA. The insignia shows two speedbirds above the letters TCA, and a different shape from the standard speedbird.

In the photo are, from the left: Bill English, Jack Dyment, O.T. Hill of the British MOA and O.T. Larson.

Working start-up on the ramp at YYZ. (used with permission)

tmb startup yyzIt’s 7:15 a.m. on April 25. On this day, the sun is peeking through the clouds on the ramp in Toronto. Airplanes are arriving and departing. At Air Canada, 6 - 9 a.m. is known as "start-up". It’s an important part of the day as safe, on-time departures from the start typically result in a smooth operation for the rest of the day.

Meet the crew (left to right): Doug Riseborough, Station Attendant; Gino Fazari, Station Attendant; Rick Brown, Station Attendant; Brian Burns, Lead Station Attendant; Vic Trento, Station Attendant.

Their day started earlier this morning. They’ve completed the departure of Chicago-bound AC501.

Fitter than ever.

tmb fitter than everJust making it five birthdays past three score and ten counts for us as a bit of a result, but American Airlines fitter Al Blackman has notched up that many years in one job.

The achievement has seen the New York JFK-based technician honoured by the Guinness World Records for the longest career as an airline mechanic, and by his employer, which named a Boeing 777-200 in his honour. Blackman, who began his service with the airline as a 16 year old apprentice in the sheet metal shop in 1942, has worked on almost every aircraft American has flown since the flying boats of the 1940s. The 91-year old turns up for work most days at 03:00, two hours before his shift starts.

(Source: Flight International August 2017)

The following was in a late edition of Flight International magazine – Staying fitter.

Regarding the piece detailing Al Blackman's seventy-five years as a fitter: technically his job may have always been the same and he never had to fill out a second application, but it was not always with American Airlines. The carrier never had flying boats, so one presumes that his first employer was American Export Airlines, about the time it started transatlantic service with the Vought-Sikorsky VS-44 in June 1942.

AEA became American Overseas Airlines (AOA) in November 1945, and a month later was merged into American Airlines. AOA continued to fly the Atlantic as such until American sold the operation to Pan American in September 1950. Evidently Mr. Blackman remained with American.

John Davis, Wichita. Kansas, USA

Editor's reply: Thanks to Mr Davis for pointing this out. Al Blackman did indeed start his career with American Export Airlines (part of the American Export Lines shipping company). The airline was absorbed into American Airlines at the end of the war, so Mr Blackman's service has been continuous.

(Source: Flight International September 2017)

Australian pilot Charles Kingsford-Smith and the crew of the Southern Cross, a “famous old patched-up plane” landed at Harbor Grace, Newfoundland "just before 6 o’clock this morning" of June 24th, 1930 after a 31-hour flight from Ireland across the Atlantic. He had been the first man (non-solo) to fly across the Pacific. Now he’d added the Atlantic to his achievements, the first man to cross both oceans by air.

(Source: Vancouver Sun)

The city’s links to the outside world strengthened in 1931 with the opening of the Vancouver Airport and Seaplane Harbour on July 22; a welcome bright spot during the Depression.

Premier Simon Fraser Tolmie officiated, and a crowd of 55,000 turned up for the four-day opening ceremonies. The complex covered 192 hectares (474 acres).

Pictured below are an early photo (left) and the 2016 version (right).

tmb early yvr tmb yvr 2016 edition

tmb rob fyfeFormer Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe has been named as Air Canada’s newest board member.

Fyfe, who led the New Zealand flag carrier for seven years until stepping down at the end of 2012, is credited with returning the airline to profitability. He  took his seat as a non-executive director on September 30, 2017.

Air Canada said in a statement: The aviation veteran replaces Joseph Leonard, who is retiring after 10 years on the board. (Source: australianaviation 9/2017)

AAR Corp. announced September 19 a deal to acquire two MRO facilities from Canada's Premier Aviation and has struck separate agreements to perform heavy-check work for Air Canada on the carrier's Airbus A320-family aircraft and its Embraer E190s in one of them.

AAR is acquiring privately held Premier's facilities in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and Windsor, Ontario.

The Airbus and Embraer work will be done in Quebec under 10- and 5-year deals, respectively. (Source: MRONetwork & AARCorp.com,  Sept 17/17)

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