Conair Aviation Ltd.

British Columbia, Canada

Company started by Leslie George “Les” Kerr (President and General Manager), K. Barry Marsden (Operations Manager), Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights, of Vancouver, Ronald "Ron" F. Connelly of Whitehorse (Directors). I was still missing one name, until Dec 23, 2012.

Email from John De Voin's son, Leon De Voin

“My father, John Leslie De Voin was the Silent Partner in Conair Aviation Ltd. Slim Knights and my father were friends.
They started KCR and brought Don Cadenhead and Ron Rogers into the firm. KCR was subsequently sold to a German Investor. Slim and my father became founding partners in Conair Aviation Ltd. after they sold KCR. The truth of the matter is that Vic Sellers had stipulated that Les Kerr had to be the major shareholder of any company formed through the sale of Skyways Air Services. Ron Connelly was the largest single investor in the newly formed company. The real brains of the company was Slim Knights.”

Then today Sept 11, 2019 this email from Les Kerr, and I quote- “There were only 2 shareholders in Conair Aviation Ltd. at its inception. John DeVoin was never a partner, silent or otherwise or involved in Conair in any manner. Slim Knights would be the first to tell you he was not the brains of the company. ” So there is some discrepancy in the above article it seems. Hope this clarifies the original ownership details.

Privately owned Company.
In 1984 they had 5 shareholders as described above.

Company incorporated April 1969.

Received their operating licence, Oct 22, 1969.

Red and White were the Company Colors

1984 they had the world's largest Private Fleet of Air Tankers.
They had a fleet of 50 fixed wing aircraft. Which included 28 Water Bombers.
These consisted of 9, 4 engine, DC6's
They also had a fleet of 15 helicopters.

Les Kerr was President and General Manager of Conair.
One article claimed he put together the 5 man group, which bought out the fire control and aerial agricultural interests of Skyway Air Services Ltd..
Les was Operations Manager of Skyway for 17 years, at the time.
Skyway was a pioneer fire bombing operator, based in Langley BC at the time.
It came with 22 single engine planes.

Skyway was formed 23 years prior by Art Seller.
Skyway continued it's flying school, and Charter Service from Langley BC.
Art Seller, who owned Skyway at the time, had a stroke, and wanted to eliminate some of his work load.

Conair purchased 13 Grumman Avengers, 5 Boeing Stearmans, a North American Harvard, and Skyways no 1 hangar at Abbotsford.

In 1978 Conair acquired subsidiary Frontier Helicopters Ltd. based in Watson Lake, Yukon.
In 1999 this Rotary Division became Conair Helicopters.

Conair went into the Air Cargo Business, with Air Cargo Agency, a Toronto freight forwarder.
The new company, Swiftair Cargo.
They filed for a licence early July, 1979, Flying for the first time on Sept 15, 1980 with 2, DC8's flying in opposite directions across Canada.

They still operate today, ca 2012, but today they are called Conair Group Inc. celebrating 40 years + in Business.
Still based in Abbotsford, BC, Canada

  • Last modified: 2019/09/11 12:58
  • by dlgent