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CP Air, formed as Canadian Pacific Airlines in 1942, began operations with Canadair C4 Argonauts and then DC6s. In 1958 the airline replaced these types with Bristol Britannia turboprops. It entered the Jet Age in 1961 with the arrival of three Douglas DC8s, which became the fleet standard for the 1960s and early 1970s with DC8-40s and DC8-63s. The DC8-63 stretched jets were introduced in the colourful orange/red livery which covered the fusalage top and fin with the fusalage underside in silver.

CP Air was created in 1968 by the renaming of Canadian Pacific Airlines. The parent company - Canadian Pacific Corporation - had decided to align the airline's name and color scheme to that of it's other subsidiaries - CP Hotels, CP Rail, etc.

Boeing 727s and 737s were used for non-transatlantic routes. From 1979 DC10-30s were used on the Gatwick route alongside Boeing 747-200s. CP Air 'merged' along with many other airlines in Canada to form Canadian Airlines International.