We wanted to highlight the ingenuity, work and efforts of Pacific Western Airlines people and to do so we have added a new page - Traces. The events herein hopefully will have left lasting effects on the industry, on people and on many aspects of life and history. Traces may be small and or event milestones but all too often soon forgotten. This section needs your input on acts of kindness, charity, innovation, design, history or vision that have led to an interesting result. One item that comes to mind is the first automated ticketing machines introduced on the Airbus. These may have been a first in Canada. Please send your contributions to the webmaster.
America West Airlines
America West Airlines started with the capital, ingenuity and vision of US based airline entrepreneurs. To get their airline into the air, they needed aircraft, training and system support along with people that would get them flying. In 1983, Pacific Western Airlines was able to provide some of that support. The aircraft maintenance and flight planning contracts lasted several years after their initial start-up. By the year 2005, America West had 140 airplanes and and in 2006 the entity merged with US Airways. Here is some that story.......
Update 3 Pages - from Flightlines - Feb 1984 (Sent by Ray Gaule)
From L. Foster - Training Department
I did work on the AWA project on behalf of PWA training dept. Since I had written the self-teach training manual for the computerized reservations system for Pacific Western, I Lambton sent me down to Phoenix for two months. Sep 1st - Oct 31st, 1983. to help them with their reservations training manual. Ian and I made a trip in August to launch the project. When we got there, we were seconded into helping them with their initial recruiting and for a few days, we did the first screening process from the cattle call for the cross-utilized customer service functions where we weeded out the "wheat from the chaff" . There were literally hundreds of applicants. It was quite an interesting process as they had a specific image required...i.e.. the All-American clean cut cheerleader girl/boy next door type. I interviewed Ted McGinley who is now an actor.. He was in Married With Children as the neighbour Marcy's 2nd husband and he is Faith's husband in Hope and Faith TV show. Anyway, after that, I started writing the manual. It was interesting to work with the America West staff. The word processing department kept complaining that I was a terrible speller because this was, of course, before technology had Americanized us and I spelled everything in the 'queen's English' and they didn't like all the extra "u's" in words like behaviour, favourite, etc. I still have the note Ed Beauvais wrote to me thanking me for my contributions towards the launching of the airline. Later on, in April '86, I went down to Phoenix with a bunch of people from Calgary ..I think it was to learn their check-in system since PWA was doing their ground handling
From The Record
In February 1983, after months of work, America West had its own initial offering of common stock. Beauvais (chairman HP) was finally able to accomplish this due to his business contacts and being well respected within the aviation community. Beauvais was pleasantly surprised as the airline raised almost $19 million. Next, company officials flew north to Calgary, Canada to meet with Pacific Western Airlines who, in conjunction with leasing company Guinness Peat Aviation, agreed to lease up to seven 122 seat Boeing 737-200s, (5 actual PWA). America West also inked a deal with Boeing for two brand-new Boeing 737-300s. While Beauvais was working on the finances and aircraft, Roach carefully looked at People Express and recommended that America West adopt the cross-utilization for front line employees. While the idea was accepted, Beauvais ensured that unlike People Express, who made all employees managers, he would have a separate group of managers to support the front line employees. A Dallas public relations firm designed the America West corporate logo and paint scheme.
As America West was preparing for the first flight, decisions were made including having CSRs trained in Reservations, Airport Services, and In-flight, while Pilots would be trained to fly the aircraft and share in dispatch duties. Tickets would be sold on-board the aircraft since this was successful with both the Eastern Shuttle and People Express. Cocktails would be complementary, as well as Wall Street Journals for every passenger to make America West stand out as the nations first low fare full service airline. Beauvais wanted gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, but the airport officials bulked stating that any gates would first be offered to “real airlines” before America West could lease them. Finally, three gates became available, to which Beauvais stated he wanted all three, airport officials responded by wanting to know how many airplanes did America West have? He stated the answer was also three. America West got the gates.
On August 1, 1983, with 277 employees and three Boeing 737-200s, America West began service from Phoenix to Kansas City , Wichita , Colorado Springs, and Los Angeles . Load factors early on exceeded expectations, and Beauvais knew he had a winner as passengers flocked to America West. By October, Omaha and Ontario were added to the route system with Las Vegas following on October 31 and Des Moines in November.
QUICKET – Self Serve Kiosks. Calgary-Edmonton Airbus.- G. Hickey
Update Dec 2012-
Sad to say. G. Hickey passed on but left this project as one of his legacies. We were gifted by G. Caron of Airdrie with the original Quicket promo literature. Note the size of the computer box in those days. Neverthetheless , it was a great success and the forerunner of things to come. Here is the
During the 80’s the ongoing popularity of the Airbus service was resulting in lengthy line-ups each day creating the need to find a solution. The Company looked at various options, one of which was to study how self service might help.
American Airlines had been pioneering the development of Self Serve ticketing in the U.S. and following a series of meetings with them and with their major supplier, NCR we decided that the technology they were using and their approach was not suitable for the Airbus product and so we elected to design our own system from scratch.
The software component was designed in conjunction with Air Canada computer services to PWA specifications and in order for it work with the AC Reservac System.
Development took some months throughout 1986 and was not without it’s challenges and not all were technical. Labour Relations issues, Transport Canada security issues and accounting issues, particularly the credit card industry requirement for signature authorization. All were addressed and all were firsts in the industry in Canada.
The physical kiosk design came from a local Calgary design company. The Quicket name and graphic design came from our Advertising Agency and two kiosks were installed in each of the Calgary and Edmonton Municipal Airbus counter areas.
Credit Card driven, passengers made their choices through a keypad and could choose either window or aisle and smoking or non smoking and were issued with a printed ticket/boarding pass.
Branded as “Quicket” the service was launched successfully and while the uptake was quite slow, as expected, (with the exception of Japanese business men who took to it readily) the expectation was that the usage would grow in similar fashion to the experience the banking industry first saw when they introduced ATM’s
Sadly, we would not find out as the subsequent purchase and merger with Canadian Pacific Airlines in 1987 meant the kiosks, designed to work with the AC system now could not function with the CP System.
It is testament to PWA thinking of the time however, that airports not just in Canada, utilize similar technologies extensively in order to assist passenger processing today, however, the first development and live trial of this type of technology by any airline in Canada was by Pacific Western Airlines.
The Most Famous of Them All - AC732
One might say this story is long over and done, but AC732 did leave a mark in history. As Boeing advanced the B737 Project and the aircraft certification programme, an airplane with PWA was setting milestones ahead of all other B737's. In the early 70's AC732 - CF-PWE would fly to from Edmonton to Inuvik loaded with cargo (3 pallet/ 63 seats) at 10:00 PM each weekday and have a conversion done upon its return that would send it out the next morning across Western Canada only to be repeated again. When re-certification was required Boeing took AC732 back to see what we was being doing right. The aircraft returned to service and the work continued. This airplane became part of the B737 certification programme that allowed later B737 to do their jobs. AC732 was eventually sold and after wandering the world, she returned at the inception of West Jet. If you can provide, more technical details on this project, please send them to the webmaster.
From: S Gray
732 carried the Queen of England, Prince Phillip, and Princess Anne in July 1970 on a tour of the Arctic. The interior was configured with Boeing's Executive Suite. Front End crew were Capt Robin Mackie and Capt Jimmy Lightbown; Flight Attendants: S Gray, H. McLeod, G. Moore, B. Snyder, and L. Duffy. Pursers J. Bisaillon, and R Hatch along with Flight Engineer V. Robertson
From: D. Kennedy
History of A/C 732 - MSN 19743 - Model B737-275C – Tail #732
CF-PWE - Pacific Western Airlines - Delivered 1969-03-12
EI-BJP – Nigeria Airways – Delivered – 1980-09-08
N331XV – Presidential Airways – Delivered 1985-12-01
N331XV – Key Airlines – Delivered -1987-01-01
N331XV – Presidential Airlines – 1987-09
N331XV – Air Zaire – 1990-05-31
N331XV – Polaris – Delivered – 1991-01-10
N331XV – NWT Air – Delivered – 1992-08-30
C-GNWD – NWT Air – Delivered 1994-06-22
N331XV – Private (First Security Bank of Utah) Delivered 1995-11
C-GWJK – Westjet Airlines – Delivered 1996-03-01
XA-TRW – Facts Air – Delivered – 2000-03-31 Converted to full Freighter B737-FF - Presently for sale on ebay and stored in Texas.
Nov 6, 2010 A/C 732
Our favourite A/C Is for sale again. It is being offered on E-Bay at starting bid of $500,000. It is back in flying condition and ready to go to work. Attached (4,4MB -1 minute download) is the ad in PDF form since the posting on E-Bay is transient. . Bidding closes on Nov 15, 2010. While it is posted, here is the
Intro To Flight - Peter Lema
In the 1970’s, Edmonton’s downtown Municipal Airport was recognized as PWA’s operational hub for flights heading north; as well, it was known as the northern terminus for the famous Air-Bus (Calgary-Edmonton) and other flights connecting Alberta to British Columbia.
Many of the PWA 737’s, including aircraft #732, were based and maintained at YXD.
Early in the morning, our engineers would taxi the aircraft over to the terminal ramp. Tons of cargo (groceries, lumber, oil rig subs) for Inuvik, Norman Wells, Cambridge Bay, Resolute and other communities, would be loaded into “igloo-pallets”…..northbound passengers would be boarded and the flights would depart.
To maximize payloads, normally only “minimums” would be planned for fuel on departure from YXD. These scheduled 737’s would fly south (approx. 20 km) to the Edmonton International Airport (YEG) to take on a maximum load of fuel (and the advantage of the longer runways), before heading to their destinations in the far north.
It was at this period, in the airlines history, that a program was developed to offer school aged children, from Edmonton and area schools, a complimentary flight. (YXD-YEG).
About 11,500 boys and girls experienced their first airplane ride….and the feed-back was so overwhelming.!!
The success of the “Intro to Flight” event was due to the great cooperation of PWA’s agents and flight attendants as well as the “special announcements” from Captains and First Officers.
Every child came home with a Pacific Western “First Flight Certificate”.
Peter was Terminal Operations Manager at YXD and went on to Public Relations at PW and Canadian North.
Fort Mc Murray - Mel Crothers
In 1974 while in sales based at YXD I was trying to figure out how to fill the morning return trip from Ft. McMurray to Edmonton ( YMM-YXD ) and also the evening northbound sector ( YXD-YMM) which was also had lower than expected load factors during mid week. It occurred to me after a discussion with travel agents in YMM and our station manager Nick De- Hoog, there were hundreds of school children in YMM with very limited opportunities for field trips. PW had empty seats and Edmonton had the Provincial museum and the Legislature. I arranged with Grayline in Edmonton to put on a bus with a box lunch, and they set up admission to the museum. I got an agreement from senior management for a low cost special education fare, and the program started. For a very low price, the students and their teacher/parent escorts could fly out for the day and see the sights. We ran the trips over two years – each spring for a six week duration. The travel dates were on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a maximum of 40 pax per trip. Hundreds of YMM school children were introduced to PWA and flying and had a great experience. Our pilots and flight attendants did cockpit tours and gave out pins and books, and all in all it was a super hit. The Manager in YMM was N DeHoog - I think he still is.