Canadian Airlines to Buy Wardair for 248 Million Cdn
TORONTO (AP) _ Canadian Airlines International announced plans Thursday to buy rival Wardair, the airline that began more than 30 years ago with a single aircraft and became Canada’s third-largest carrier.
Max Ward, the former bush pilot who founded the airline, confirmed the proposed sale, saying Wardair simply ran out of money in its bid to grow from a charter service to a regularly scheduled airline.
Under terms of the deal, Canadian Airlines parent Pacific Western Airlines Corp. will pay 17.25 Canadian dollars for each Wardair share. Canadian Airlines is currently the country’s No. 2 airline after Air Canada.
With about 14.4 million Wardair shares outstanding, CAI’s offer is worth around 248 million Canadian dollars.
Ward said the buyout would leave Wardair intact and operating under the same name, but will mean job losses for one-third of the company’s 4,500 employees.
″We just didn’t have enough money to hold out for another year in order to turn Wardair into another scheduled carrier,″ Ward told a news conference. ″It’s the end of an era.″
Ward, who owns 30 percent of his company’s stock, has agreed to sell his entire block. He will stay on as Wardair chairman.
Jack Lawless, a spokesman for CAI, stressed that the deal was not a merger. ″We intend to keep operating these two airlines separately,″ he said from Calgary. ″Each has its own strengths.″
Consumers shouldn’t see any difference in services, other than some coordinating of schedules, he said.