Before discussing the types of aircraft operated by Nordair, let’s first take a closer look at the Quebec airline created from the merger of Mont Laurier Aviation and Boreal Airways. Based in Montreal, Nordair operated from Dorval Airport, now Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL), and later from Montreal-Mirabel International Airport (YMX) after it opened in 1975.
After its founding in 1947, Nordair served destinations in Eastern Canada and the Northwest Territories and offered international and charter flights. Initially flying a fleet of Douglas DC-3s and DC-4s, Nordair later used Lockheed L-188 Electra and Fairchild Hiller FH-227 turboprop aircraft. In 1969, Nordair received its first Boeing 737s and deployed them on domestic and international charter flights to the Caribbean.
The merger and its consequences
On March 27, 1987, Nordair was purchased by Canadian Pacific Air Lines, formerly CP Air. Western Airlines purchased Canadian Pacific Air Lines to create a company called Canadian Airlines. In 2000, the airline was acquired by Canadian national carrier Air Canada.
While Nordair no longer existed, an airline called “Nordair Quebec 2000” operated until 2006 before the Nordair name disappeared from the aviation industry following its suspension of flights in 2006.
In no specific order of delivery and use over its 40-year history, Canada’s Nordair has operated a fleet of the following piston, turboprop and jet aircraft.
Piston and turboprop aircraft
- 15 Douglas DC-3s that Nordair used for short-haul passenger flights out of Montreal.
- 14 Curtiss C-46 Commando twin-piston cargo plane that Nordair used to transport cargo.
- Nine Douglas DC-4s. Developed during the war and used extensively during the Berlin Airlift, many military C-54 Skymasters were converted into DC-4 passenger aircraft.
- A Douglas DC-6, an aircraft originally intended as a military transport, became a popular piston-powered airliner.
- A Douglas DC-7, a four-engine piston-powered freighter version of the popular DC-6.
- Five Lockheed L-188 Electra is a large four-engine turboprop with a high power-to-weight ratio. Initially the aircraft sold well until two fatal crashes forced Lockheed to make major design changes.
- Five Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellations powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engines. Lockheed built the aircraft to compete with the Douglas DC-6.
- Two Handley Page Dart Herald Series 200 aircraft, a British twin-engine turboprop built to replace the aging Douglas DC-3.
- Five Fairchild Hiller FH-227 is a twin-engine turboprop like the Fokker F27 built under license in the United States by Fairchild Hiller.
- Three Douglas DC-8s, a four-engine long-range airliner built by the American Douglas Aircraft Company.
- Three Convair 990 Coronado is a stretched version of the Convair 880, a four-engine narrow-body airliner built by General Dynamics following a request from American Airlines.
- A Boeing 737-100 and 27 Being 737-200s. Built by Boeing in the 1960s to complement the Boeing 727, the 737 is a twin-engine jet aircraft for short to medium haul. Known as the 737 Classic, the 200 version was a stretched version of the original.
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