Air Canada Douglas DC-9 Makes Final Flight to Place of Honour at Canada Aviation Museum

OTTAWA, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Air Canada`s Douglas DC-9, fin number 711
painted in original 1960s livery, took its place of honour at the Canada
Aviation in Museum in Ottawa today, marking an important era in Canadian
aviation history. In 1966, when Air Canada became the first airline outside
the United States to operate the DC-9, many Canadians from coast to coast were
introduced to jet travel for the first time. During its almost 36 years in
service, the DC-9 became the workhorse of the Air Canada fleet. At the height
of its deployment, Air Canada had as many as 50 DC-9s serving most of its
destinations throughout Canada and the United States.

“The Canada Aviation Museum prides itself in charting not only Canada`s
rich aviation heritage but also the important milestones in the history and
technology of flight,” said Anthony Smyth, Director General of the Canada
Aviation Museum. “We appreciate Air Canada`s understanding of the usefulness
and significance of this aircraft which has played an important role in our
civil aviation history and gratefully accept the guardianship of this aircraft
for this and future generations. Undoubtedly, the Museum`s wide audience of
Canadian and international visitors will benefit greatly by seeing the first
twin-jet commercial aircraft operated in Canada.”

“The DC-9 is an aircraft which represents a truly unique chapter in
Canada`s aviation history,” said Captain Rob Giguere, Air Canada`s Executive
Vice President, Operations, at a ceremony today at the Canada Aviation Museum
in Ottawa. “At a time when the country was rapidly changing and growing, the
DC-9 made its debut in Canada`s skies. The year was 1966 and the DC-9 marked
the beginning of short-haul jet service for Air Canada and the first
experience of jet travel for many Canadians. The DC-9 represented for
Canadians the beginning of a new era of faster, quieter and more reliable air
transportation than ever before.

“For a pilot like myself, the DC-9 was a real gem. It was versatile, it
was comfortable, it was dependable in winter, it was fuel efficient and it was
economical to maintain. In short, it was the perfect aircraft for serving the
communities that made up Air Canada`s North American network for almost four
decades. So it is with great pride, on behalf of Air Canada, that I present
the Canada Aviation Museum with fin number 711, representing the legacy of jet
aviation in Canada,” concluded Captain Giguere who piloted the DC-9 for almost
10 years, as did his father, Captain René Giguere until his retirement from
Air Canada in 1968.

Air Canada`s last scheduled DC-9 passenger flight was operated with Fin
number 711 from La Guardia to Montréal by Captain Ken Jones and First Officer
Sylvain Boucher on January 18, 2002. Fin number 711 was put into service by
Air Canada in 1968. It logged 81, 555 hours - more than any other of Air
Canada`s DC-9s.


The retirement of Air Canada`s DC-9 fleet is part of the carrier`s on-
going fleet renewal program to improve operating efficiencies and give Air
Canada one of the youngest, most environmentally friendly fleets in the world.
In 2001, 13 DC-9 aircraft were removed from the operating fleet and the
remaining five were removed in January 2002. While in service at Air Canada,
the DC-9 fleet was constantly updated with the latest in technological
enhancements as well as customer service amenities. The fleet accumulated a
total of more than three million hours of service and completed more than
three million landings and takeoffs.