Within a 20-year time frame, Max Ward had built one of the top
carriers in Canada, with 18 jets and over four thousand seats.
His years of determination and success were rewarded on 28
May 1974 when Ward was honoured with the Transportation Man of
the Year Award for Alberta. He was also inducted into the
Aviation Hall of Fame in July. A year later, on 1 July 1975, Max
Ward received an appointment as an Officer of the Order of
On 10 June 1976, Ward changed the name of his company to
Wardair International Limited. At the end of the summer that
year, Wardair was the third largest airline in Canada.
Ward continued to receive honours in 1979 when he was awarded
the Gordon R.
McGregor Memorial Trophy that was established to
recognize significant works in commercial aviation. Meanwhile,
Ward closed his long time northern operations in October 1979 to
accommodate the shifting focus of his company.
The relaxing federal regulations for charter airlines in 1980
resulted in Ward being able to fly his first advanced booking
charter flight from Toronto to Vancouver later that year. With
these changes Ward expanded his airline between 1980 and 1984,
which included a larger fleet of aircraft, a new workshop, and
By March 1985 Wardair was declared the world’s top airline by
the British publication Holiday Which? In May, Ward was
successful in setting up an international scheduled route
between Canada and Britain.
Wardair was given a licence to provide scheduled flights
within Canada in March 1986. The quality of Wardair’s services
was noted again by Holiday Which? magazine in 1986 and
1987 when the airline was evaluated as the world’s finest
Through 1987 to 1988, Wardair purchased 12 airbuses and 16
McDonnell-Douglas MD-88s to meet the increasing demands it
faced, but this brought with it a massive debt that would
ultimately bring its operations to an end. In May 1989, Wardair
was sold to Canadian Pacific to avoid the possibility of
Max Ward continues to fly, and in the summers he flies his
family to a lodge located about two hours north of Yellowknife.