Meeting Minutes-John Douglas Dickie: Canadian Airline Industry
Royal City Men’s Club Meeting September 15, 2022 29 members in attendance
9:55 President called meeting to order and welcomed speaker John Dickie A guest was introduced by Warren Gregg. John Carlton President asked members if anyone had booked bivalent Covid vaccine as yet. There were a few who indicated they had but majority had not. Suggested vaccine is available at Stone Road Mall second floor. President offered condolences to Gord Framst and family on behalf of all members. Gord and Joan’s grandson died in a tragic motorcycle crash earlier in the week. President reminded everyone of coffee gathering every second week at Boathouse. This is a very popular activity as many members attend each week.
President called on Ken Marchant chair of activities committee to share upcoming events. First is a hike at the Arboretum on Tuesday September 22 at 10:00 AM. Meeting parking lot and after hike coffee will be offered. The Village by the Arboretum holds a cabaret night which is very popular so Ken asked members to sign up as soon as possible and pay soon as well. This will be Thursday November 18, or Friday 19 depending if tickets are available as they go very fast.
Warren Gregg introduced speaker as he is a friend of Warren. John Dickie had many years in the airline industry and titled his talk. Canadian Airline Industry Evolution Story 1937-2012 Suggested government was an early driver of the airline industry as could carry the mail to help make money. Early on TCA was part of CN Rail. 1935 CD Howe set national air policy. One of the early flights involving passengers was a Vancouver to Seattle run where there were 12 flights a day and plane could carry 18. To expand hangers, repair facilities were needed as well and a supply of pilots. 1947 was a coming of age in industry. Northstar plane was the first pressurized plane and it could hold 40 passengers. By 1951 mail revenue was only 15% of total. Act to change name was earlier but not enacted until 1965 1950’s and 1960’s saw new growth and Air Canada controlled the east part of Canada and Canadian Pacific air held the west. CP had only 25% of total market however. The challenge for the airline was profit as infrastructure costs and labour grew. The first automated reservation service was started in Canada. AC moved hub from Winnipeg to Montreal. They also had choice of planes from USA, France and UK. Around this time share of economy seats grew from 30 to 90%. Air Canada was the first airline to fly to Moscow. 1967 saw the peak of prosperity. AC was challenged by Wardair and in 1973 the price of fuel doubled and AC incurred a $75-100 million loss. In 10 years it went from the best to the worst Claude Taylor was hired to revamp and rebuild the airline. 1977 saw AC exit from CN Rail. More issues arose as US De-regulation hit in 1978 allowing airlines to fly anywhere they wanted. The 80’s saw seat discounting and more changes as airlines tended to lease planes to give them more flexibility. Market share for AC fell however from 77% in 1975 to 48% in 1981. More changes were seen at end of 80’s and early 90’s. Canada made many contributions to the industry such as first to have heaters, Turbo Jets, reservation system, covered walkways and to ban smoking.
President thanked John for his presentation and suggested he could write a book. In 2 weeks time speaker is Neil Dunsmore.