Company History

Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd. was founded in Edmonton in the summer of 1970 by two Edmonton businessmen, Mr. Don Wheaton, Sr. and Dr. Bev Brooker. The Company enjoyed rapid growth due to the "oil boom" Alberta economy of the 1970s. During this period, the Company expanded into Cessna sales, service and parts, fuel sales and full-service fixed base operation (FBO).

Company flying activities initially involved cabin class piston and turboprop twins. In the late 1970s, the Company added a Lear 36 and a Hawker Siddeley HS-125 to its fleet.

In the early 1980s, the Company—divested of its piston fleet—continued to expand its turboprop and corporate jet fleet and added aircraft leasing to its business. During this period, Mr. Don Wheaton Sr. became the sole shareholder of Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd.

During the mid-1980s, the Company began flying for various courier companies. Brooker Wheaton Aviation Ltd. expanded in this market in subsequent years with the addition of Fairchild Metroliners and Cessna C208 Caravans.

In July 1990, the Company acquired a contract to operate two Boeing 727s nationwide for Federal Express Canada. November 1991 saw the addition of the Fokker F-27 aircraft to the Federal Express Canada contract. By this time the Company's executive aircraft charter fleet included a Canadair Challenger, a Learjet 35, and two Beechcraft King Airs.

In January, 1992 the Company became Morningstar Air Express with Don Wheaton Jr. and Kim Ward joining the Board of Directors.

By the end of 1993 both Fokker F-27 aircraft were removed from service and returned to their lessor.

In early 1995 the Company replaced its Learjet with a Hawker 700. In the spring of 1995 a fourth B727 was added to Morningstar's Boeing fleet. In December of 1996 Morningstar opened an additional maintenance base at the Edmonton International Airport to support the B727 operation.

In the spring of 1996, the Company sold its Building 12 hangar and leased office space at the Shell Aerocentre located on the opposite side of the Edmonton City Center Airport. By the end of 1996 the last Beechcraft King Air was sold.

In 1998 Morningstar's Metroliner wet lease contract with Federal Express Canada was cancelled, but was replaced with two leased Cessna C208 Caravans operating in Vancouver and Montreal. In December 2000, Morningstar opened a maintenance base in Moncton, New Brunswick to provide service to an additional leased C208, and to provide turn maintenance service for its B727 operation.

In 2001 Morningstar set up another maintenance base in Montreal with the additional C208 being placed in this city by Federal Express Canada Ltd.

In 2004, a model upgrade replaced all of the B727-100s with B727-200s, significantly increasing load capacity. That same year Federal Express Canada moved their main sort facility from Hamilton to Toronto and so Morningstar commenced operating its B727 fleet out of the Toronto Pearson Airport.

In late 2007 Morningstar imported an ATR-42 which began operating in February 2008 for Federal Express Canada, based in Montreal. In March 2008, a fifth B727-200 was added to the Morningstar fleet.

In 2009 Morningstar Air Express Inc. signed a 10 year contract with Federal Express Canada, and subsequent Boeing fleet replacement began in 2010. Morningstar took delivery of its first two Boeing B757-200s in July of 2010 eventually replacing all five B727-200s with five B757-200s before the end of 2011. An ATR-72 entered service with Morningstar in January 2013, replacing the company's ATR-42, and a sixth B757-200 entered service in November 2015. 2017 saw the addition of one more B757-200 as well as an additional C208B aircraft.

Headquartered at the Edmonton International Airport since the spring of 2012, Morningstar currently employs approximately 140 maintenance, flight operations and administrative personnel at various locations across Canada, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton and Halifax.