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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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Max Moth

Long career


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Long career

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 Canada.

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. Wardair's A300 B4 Airbus

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 hangar.

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 scheduled carrier.

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 bankruptcy.

Max Ward continues to fly, and in the summers he flies his family to a lodge located about two hours north of Yellowknife.


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