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Norcanair was the name of a Canadian airline that existed from 1947 to 1987, and again briefly in the early 1990s and from 2001 to 2005.
Norcanair traces its history back to M&C Aviation, founded in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 1930 by private pilots Richmond Mayson and Angus Campbell. Moving soon to Prince Albert, this bush-flying firm survived the Great Depression by concentrating on carrying prospectors and travellers into Saskatchewan's heavily forested north. When the Second World War broke out, the firm's technical expertise was put to work running an overhaul facility in Prince Albert that maintained aircraft used by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
Postwar, Campbell died and Mayson accepted a 1947 offer from the province's new Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government for the sale of the airline. The government's goal was to use aircraft to open the province's vast north. This airline was known as Saskatchewan Government Airways (SGA). Structured as a Crown corporation, SGA operated from 1947 to 1965 from a main base at the Prince Albert (Glass Field) Airport and a number of sub-bases in northern Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan's 1964 general election saw the NDP government defeated by the Liberals. SGA was privatized into the hands of some Saskatchewan businessmen, who renamed it "North Canada Air" or "Norcanair" for short. The firm operated two sets of services for the next 16 years: charter flights in northern Saskatchewan, and a modest series of scheduled routes running north-south in Saskatchewan. Its major equipment included Cessna 180s, Beavers and Otters. One of its Beavers, aircraft CF-FHB, is preserved in the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa, while one of its Model 170 Bristol Freighters, Freighter CF-WAE, is in the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
For its scheduled routes, it used five U.S.-built Fairchild F-27 turboprop aircraft acquired from Hughes Air West in 1976-77. Also flown was a wide array of other turboprop aircraft types including the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, and NAMC YS-11. The only jet aircraft type operated by Norcanair was the Fokker F28 Fellowship.
In 1981, Norcanair president John B. "Jack" Lloyd announced he was selling the airline back to the provincial government, which by this point was in the hands of the social democratic New Democratic Party. A tentative deal was struck, but before it could be finalized, the NDP government fell and its replacement, the Progressive Conservative party, resold the firm to Saskatoon businessman Albert Ethier, who combined the airline with his own charter firm, Hi-Line Airways.
During 1985, a scheduled nonstop passenger route to Minneapolis/St. Paul from Regina was initiated with the Fokker F28 Fellowship jet aircraft. By 1987 Norcanair was feeding passengers to CP Air and in March of the same year Norcanair was taken over by Time Air.
- Beechcraft Model 18
- BPY-5A Canso
- Douglas DC-3
- Cessna 180
- DHC-2 Beaver
- DHC-3 Otter
- DHC-6 Twin Otter
- Model 170 Bristol Freighter
- Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante
- NAMC YS-11
- Fairchild F-27
- Fokker F28 Fellowship
- Airlines Remembered by BI Hengi, Publisher Midland Publishing
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