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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trans-Canada Air Lines (also TCA in English, and Air Canada in French) was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec, and its first president was Gordon Roy McGregor.

Lockheed Electra 10A "CF-TCC" in Trans-Canada Air Lines livery at the Western Canada Aviation Museum.



TCA was created by the Crown corporation Canadian National Railways (CNR), and launched its first flight on September 1, 1937 on a flight between Vancouver and Seattle.

The creation of TCA was partly by CNR management who wanted to expand the company into the new field of passenger aviation, and was partly by government direction. Prior to TCA, no large national airline existed in Canada. With war looming, and other nations (primarily the U.S.) experiencing major increases in the creation of passenger airlines, it was necessary to have a presence. CNR was the country's largest corporation at the time and proved an effective vehicle for the government to create a national airline.

TCA was also in direct competition with passenger trains operated by parent CNR, and contributed to the decline of passenger rail service as Canada entered the pioneering years of air travel. In response to CNR's creation of TCA, arch-rival Canadian Pacific Railway created Canadian Pacific Air Lines in 1942. In 1953 with the development of ReserVec, TCA became the first airline in the world to use a computer reservation system with remote terminals.


In 1964, an act of Parliament proposed by Jean Chrétien changed the name of Trans-Canada Air Lines to "Air Canada", which was already in use as the airline's French-language name, effective January 1, 1965. By the late 1970s, Air Canada was divested by parent CN, and the airline became a separate Crown corporation and was privatized in 1989.


TCA operated a network of 160 routes to destinations including:

  • St. John's, Newfoundland
  • Victoria, BC
  • Boston
  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Tampa
  • Detroit (Wind­sor)
  • Seattle
  • London
  • Paris
  • Prestwick
  • Shannon
  • Düsseldorf
  • Bermuda
  • Bahamas
  • Jamaica
  • Barbados
  • Trinidad

Notable incidents

Trans-Canada Airlines had 7 incidents, resulting in a total of 219 fatalities from 1954 to 1963.


Trans-Canada Air Lines Fleet[4]
Aircraft In Service Passengers Years in service
Vickers Viscount[5] 48 1955-1974
Vickers Vanguard 108 1961-1972
Canadair Northstar DC-4M-2 20 44 1946-1961
Douglas DC-8-40, 50, 60 and 70 8; 6 as cargo 1983 176 (economy), 124 (mixed) 1960-1983
Lockheed Electra 10A 5 10 1937-1941
Lockheed L-749 Constellation L-1049C [6] 5 53-75 1954-1963
Bristol 31 3 freight only; 2 crew 1953-1955
Douglas DC-3 27 21 1945-1963
Lancastrian bombers - for freight/mail service and priority passengers 9 10 1943-1947
Lockheed Lodestar 18-08 15 14 1941-1949
Lockheed Super Electra 14H2 (14-08) 16; 12 as 14-08 after conversion 10 1938-1949
Stearman - as trainer only 3 2 1937-1939

See also


  1. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Historic Fleet
  5. ^ Detail on each Viscount operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines is found at {ref>The Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount Online Museum.
  6. ^ Photos of L1049 with TCA markings taken in 1956 at Montreal-Dorval Airport by H.G. Rath:
    L1049 photo 1
    L1049 photo 2


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