Yukon Southern Air Transport
Arctic & Northern Aviation
Yukon Southern Air Transport (YSAT) was born on January 16, 1938 as a name change of United Air Transport (UAT), which was owned and operated by George W. ("Grant") McConachie. McConachie had formed UAT, based in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1933, and brought UAT service to the Yukon on July 5, 1937, when he landed a float-equipped Ford Tri-Motor on the Yukon River at Whitehorse.
As well its bush service, YSAT continued to expand service between Vancouver and Edmonton and the Yukon. In pursuit of better service on those routes, they added 3 twin-engine, all-metal Barkley-Grow T8P-1 airliners in the spring of 1940, followed soon after by 2 Lockheed 18-40 Lodestars.
In 1941, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) bought YSAT as well as Canadian Airways and 8 other small airlines, and on March 24, 1942, they were consolidated as Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CPA). YSAT had always lost money, and was sold for $1,057,000, which included $181,000 of liabilities. At the time, they had 70 employees including 9 pilots, 4 stewardesses, and 12 ground crew. Grant McConachie was hired as General Manager of CPA and would later become President, a position he held for 18 years until his death in 1965.
On December 15, 1941, YSAT, as part of CPR, bought the air service of the British Yukon Navigation Company (BYN), which had recently absorbed White Pass Airways.
Yukon Southern Air Transport seems to have owned a total of 15 aircraft, although there is some fragmentary and even contradictory information about this:
- 1 - Fairchild / American Pilgrim 100B: CF-BUA, acquired with BYN.
- 3 - Barkley-Grow T8P-1: CF-BLG ("Yukon Queen"), CF-BMG ("Yukon King"), and CF-BMW ("Yukon Prince"); all purchased Spring 1940.
- 1 - Beechcraft D17S: CF-BLU - hit sandbar and overturned on takeoff from Camp Canol, NWT, on August 16, 1942.
- 2 - Boeing 247D: CF-BVT and CF-BVV
- 1 - Curtiss-Wright D-3 Kingbird: CF-BVG
- 1 - Curtiss-Wright T-32C Condor: CF-BQN
- 1 - Fairchild FC-2W2: G-CARM
- 1 - Fairchild 82-A: CF-AXA, acquired with BYN.
- 1 - Ford 6-AT-AS Tri-Motor: CF-BEP - arrived in the Yukon for UAT on July 5, 1937, destroyed at Vancouver at 13:15 on March 2, 1939 when it was struck by an RCAF Hawker Hurricane Mk.I which lost control while taking off from RCAF Station Sea Island. A fire erupted in the Hurricane but there were no fatalities.
- 2 - Lockheed 18-40 Lodestar: CF-BTY
- 1 - Waco: CF-BBP
Books with significant Yukon Southern Air Transport content:
- Bush Pilot With a Briefcase: The happy-go-lucky story of Grant McConachie. By Ronald Keith; Doubleday, 1972
- Canadian Pacific Airlines: Its History and Aircraft. By Donald M. Bain; Kishorn, 1987.
- Yukon Wings. By R.B. "Bob" Cameron; Frontenac House, 2012.
The 2 advertisements below were published in The Whitehorse Star, Friday, April 10, 1942
The 8-page timetable below was published on May 15, 1940 - from the collection of Björn Larrson, used with permission