|Ceased operations||January 2001|
|Parent company||Air Canada|
|Headquarters||London, Ontario Canada|
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Air Ontario Inc. was established in June 1987, when James Plaxton purchased Great Lakes Airlines prior to its bankruptcy, and Air Ontario Ltd. (formerly Great Lakes Airlines, formed in 1958) was formed.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada, Air Ontario’s operation increased substantially in the intra-Ontario marketplace with Air Canada’s decision in February 1990, to discontinue Mainline service to North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins and Windsor. Route expansion from Toronto Island Airport to Montreal and Ottawa soon followed, along with the addition of new routes into the United States.
In January 2001, a newly merged carrier called Air Canada Regional Inc. was established. A wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada, this company combined the individual strengths of four regional airlines—Air BC, Air Nova, Air Ontario, and Canadian Regional Airlines. Consolidation of these four companies was completed in 2002 and was marked by the launch of a new name and brand—Air Canada Jazz.
As of 2001, this was the Air Ontario fleet:
Accidents and incidents
- On 1 November 1988, Douglas C-47A C-FBJE crashed into Pikangikum Lake on a domestic cargo flight from Red Lake Airport to Pikangikum Airport. Two of the three people on board were killed.
- On March 10, 1989, Air Ontario Flight 1363, a Fokker F28-1000 Fellowship C-FONF, crashed near Dryden, Ontario immediately after take-off en route from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg via Dryden. The aircraft crashed after only forty-nine seconds after liftoff because it was not able to achieve enough altitude to clear the trees beyond the end of the runway due to ice and snow on the wings, causing the death of 21 of 65 passengers and 3 of 4 crew members. Some of the survivors were able to escape from the plane on their own but the others were carried to safety. The accident happened because the APU (auxiliary power unit) did not work, so the crew had to keep one of the engines running at Dryden. However, the necessary de-icing was only authorised if both the main engines are stopped, Air Ontario forbidding the use of de-icing if one of the engines was running due to the possibility of the fumes being sucked into the air conditioning. Furthermore, if the pilots had shut down the engines, with no APU and with Dryden airport not having the facility to restart the engines, the plane would have been stranded - a situation that was exacerbated by an extended wait on the taxiway while priority was given to an incoming Cessna.
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