CP Air's Fleet of Boeing 747's

With the explosion in air travel during the 1960s led by the 707, Boeing began development on the 747. Boeing had already been involved in a study to provide the US military with a large transport aircraft. When the contract was awarded to Lockheeds C-5 Galaxy, Boeing came under pressure by Pan Am to develop a large commercial transport capable of carrying between 350 and 490 passengers. Using knowledge gained from the military design Boeing came up with a preliminary configuration for the first wide bodied commercial aircraft. Pan Am ordered 25 of the initial 747-100 and became the launch customer. In order to construct such a large aircraft Boeing had to build a new plant. The facility was built in Everett Washington 30 miles north of Seattle. The first development 747 rolled out from the Everett plant on September 30 1968. Its maiden flight was originally planned for December 17 1968, the 65th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight, however this was delayed and did not occur until February 9 1969. Deliveries to Pan Am began on December 12 1969 with certification being granted on December 30 1969. Pan Am commenced commercial service with the 747-100 on January 22 1970 between New York and London.

Development continued quickly with the higher gross weight 747-200B entering service with KLM in early 1971. The 200B had a higher fuel capacity and was fitted with more powerful engines with increased fuel efficiency. Range with a typical payload increased to over 5000 miles.

CP Air took delivery of its first 747-200B CF-CRA on November 15 1973. When it arrived at CP's Vancouver base its gleaming hull reflected the curiosity of hundreds of the airline's employees. "Wonderment & fascination matched their thinly disguised feelings of satisfaction that this orange giant was their very own ticket to the jumbo era" wrote the editor of the employee newsletter CP Air News. A second 747 joined the fleet by the end of the year followed by two more by the end of 1974 at a cost of $26 million each. As was typical of the time many airlines ordered 747s with a bar located in the upper deck. CP Air was no different, in fact Canadian Pacific being proud of its railway origins, had the bar in CF-CRA decorated with various railway memorabilia. However, with rising oil prices during the mid 70s such luxuries became a thing of the past and these lounges were replaced by seats to increase airline revenue.
CP Air operated its 747s on long haul routes to Europe, Asia and Australia. In October of 1985 it was announced that the 747s were being sold to Pakistan International Airlines in exchange for four DC10-30s.

Fleet Info (Click to Enlarge):