After working as a pilot for Northern Flights limited, Max Ward
decided to start his own business.
In June 1946, he created a company named Polaris Charter
Company limited that owned a single Fox Moth aircraft. He
offered a service to prospectors who were looking for gold
around the Yellowknife area, but Ward faced difficulties when he
crashed the Moth on his first flight to Yellowknife.
Ward continued to fly until May 1947, when the Air
Transportation Board informed him that he had to have a
commercial license to keep flying. Max decided to fly with a
partner and his airline, Yellowknife Airways.
By October 1949, Max Ward had a series of unfortunate events
that included the loss of his house in a fire, the destruction
of his Fox Moth in a crash that killed the pilot, and the end of
his partnership. He decided to move to Lethbridge to work at
Ward later returned to Yellowknife in 1951 to take a position
as a pilot for Associated Airways.
By 1952, he applied to the Air Transportation Board to start
his own company again, but was turned down. He then made a
second application and by 1 June 1953, Ward purchased a de
Havilland Otter. The Otter was the largest aircraft in Western
Canada that was used at the time for bush flights, able to carry
sheets of plywood and lumber. By 3 June, the licence for Wardair
Ward’s business grew, due to his ability to transport larger
loads into remote regions.
On 2 June 1961, Ward planned to expand his services to
include international flights, and changed the name of his
company to Wardair Canada limited. Wardair provided charter
airline services in southern Canada and flew his first group,
the Alberta School Patrol Band, on 10 May 1962 on a return trip
from Calgary to Ottawa.
Ward provided his first international charter on 22 June
1962, travelling from Edmonton to Denmark. His success was
evident when on 28 April 1966 he purchased his first Boeing 727,
the first Boeing jet sold in Canada.
To continue his expansion and to gather the capital he
needed, Wardair went public on 18 September 1967. By December
1967, Wardair began tours to destinations in the United States
including Hawaii, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.
New regulations set out by the Air Transportation Board in
March 1968 required Wardair to prove that they only provided
service to clubs whose members on board had been members for at
least six months. The aircraft also had to fly at capacity for
each flight. Even with these restrictions, Max Ward was able to
continue running a profitable airline.
By May 1968, he was able to buy the bigger Boeing 707 for his
fleet. The rules set down by the Air Transportation Board were
removed in January 1973.