Morningstar Air Express
|Headquarters||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Key people||Donald Wheaton (President)|
Morningstar Air Express Inc. is a cargo airline based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It operates a contract all-cargo service from Montreal to Winnipeg for FedEx Express, as well as all-cargo charter services. Its main base is Edmonton City Centre Airport.
The airline was founded in Edmonton in the summer of 1970 as Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd. In January, 1992 the Company became Morningstar Air Express. It is owned by Donald Wheaton (50%) and Kim Ward (50%).
Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd. was founded in Edmonton in the summer of 1970 by two Edmonton businessmen, Mr. Don Wheaton, Sr. and Dr. Bev Brooker. The Company enjoyed rapid growth due to the "oil boom" economy of Alberta during the 1970s. During this period, the Company expanded into a Cessna sales, service and parts center, a fuel dealership and a full service "FBO" center. Company flying activities initially involved cabin class piston and turboprop twins. In the late 1970s, the Company added a Lear 36 and a Hawker Siddely HS-125 to its fleet.
In the early 1980s, the Company divested of its piston fleet, continued to expand its turboprop and corporate jet fleet and went into aircraft leasing business. Also, during this period, Mr. Don Wheaton, Sr. became the sole shareholder of Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd. During the mid-1980s, the Company began flying for various courier companies. Brooker Aviation Ltd. expanded in this market in subsequent years with the addition of Fairchild Metroliners and Cessna 208 Caravans. In July 1990, the Company acquired a contract to initially operate two Boeing 727s nationwide for FedEx Express Canada. November 1991 saw the addition of the Fokker F-27 aircraft for the FedEx Express Canada contract.
Morningstar Air Express Inc. operates a contract all-cargo service for FedEx Express between the following cities. Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton, and Halifax.
As of July 2013, the Morningstar Air Express fleet includes:
Incidents and accidents
- October 6, 2005: a Morningstar Cessna 208 was flying from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay, Ontario, when it went down. The pilot was killed but she is credited with trying to avoid casualties on the ground and avoiding several tall buildings.
- September 26, 2013: a Morningstar Cessna 208 left Sault Ste. Marie Airport on an unscheduled training/maintenance flight. It was expected to fly north and then return to Sault Ste. Marie half an hour later. The plane's emergency beacon was activated 1,200 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, and was later found crashed in the waters of Hudson Bay with no sign of the pilot. Cause of the crash is yet to be determined.