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Inter-Canadien traces its roots back to Quebecair, which was founded in 1949. Quebecair grew to become a second tier regional airline, operating BAC One-Eleven jets and Fokker F27 Friendship turboprops on routes throughout the province of Quebec and into New Brunswick. In 1986 Quebecair was purchased by PWA Corporation (owner of Pacific Western Airlines), the parent of Canadian Airlines International, and merged with the regional subsidiary of Nordair, another Montreal-based airline that had also been acquired by PWA Corporation.
In the late 1980s Inter-Canadien rolled over its fleet, becoming the North American launch customer for the Fokker 100 regional jet and the first Canadian operator of the ATR 42 turboprop. At the same time, Canadian Airlines International sold control of Inter-Canadien to local businessman Michel Leblanc, but the airline continued to operate as a code-share partner of Canadian.
In 1990 Inter-Canadien cancelled its code share agreement and began competing with Canadian Airlines International and Air Canada on high density routes between Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax. This new business plan was a failure, ending with Inter-Canadien entering court protection in 1991. Canadian Airlines International then repurchased the airline, returning it to its role as Canadian's Quebec feeder airline, disposing of the Fokker 100s and standardizing the fleet on the ATR 42. In 1996 Inter-Canadien became a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Regional Airlines, then the largest regional carrier in Canada and itself owned by Canadian Airlines International.
In September 1998, Canadian Regional sold Inter-Canadien to Canadian Investors Group, a Toronto-based investment company owned by Robert Myhill and his partners. At the same time, Canadian Airlines International cancelled its code-share agreement with Air Atlantic and transferred Air Atlantic's routes in Atlantic Canada to Inter-Canadien. It also transferred a number of Canadian Regional Airlines routes in Ontario. As a result, Inter-Canadien almost doubled in size, increasing its fleet from ten ATR 42 to 16 ATRs and three Fokker F28 Fellowship regional jets, to operate on a route network that reached from St, John's, Newfoundland in the east to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in the west. In July 1999, the airline announced an order for six modern Embraer ERJ 135 regional jets.
Inter-Canadien suspended operations in December 1999, concurrent with the collapse of its code-share partner, Canadian Airlines International (which was acquired by Air Canada). The airline entered bankruptcy in April 2000. Its hangar facilities and maintenance licences were acquired by ExelTech Aerospace.
- CEO Robert Myhill (1998-1999)
- Vice President, Customer Service Michel Gagné (-1999)
- Director, Human Resources Alain Desgagné, CHRP (1995-1999)
- Director, Flight Operations Robert Learchaft(1998-1999)
- Director, Maintenance Wayne (-1999)
- 1,100 staff (1999)
- 400 pilots (1999)
Hubs and destinations
When it ceased operations in December 1999, Inter-Canadien was flying to 28 destinations in Canada:
- Sault Ste Marie
- Toronto Hub
- Baie Comeau
- Iles de la Madeilaine
- La Grande
- Mont Joli
- Montreal Hub
- Quebec City
- Val d'Or
- Atlantic Canada
- Deer Lake
- Halifax Hub
- Saint John
- St John's
- Media related to Inter-Canadien at Wikimedia Commons