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History of Air Canada

Air Canada started out with the name Trans-Canada Airlines and was created as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway on April 10, 1937.

Passenger operations began on September 1, with a Lockheed 10A carrying two passengers and mail from Vancouver to Seattle. The company was headquartered in Winnipeg which was also the site of the national maintenance base.

In 1949, federal policy dictated the headquarters move to Montreal. Later the maintenance base also moved east which was a significant blow to western Canada. In the 1950s Air Canada did pioneering work in the use of computer reservation systems with the development of the ReserVec system. By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada’s national airline and in 1964 Jean Chrétien submitted a private member’s bill to change the name of the airline from Trans-Canada Airlines to Air Canada. This bill failed but it was resubmitted and passed, with the name change taking effect on January 1, 1965. In a late 1970s reorganisation at CNR, Air Canada became an independent Crown corporation.

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