Aviation History Newfoundland & Labrador

Eric Blackwood’s “Bush” Airline

by Gary Hebbard, Journalist and Aviation Enthusiast

In 1949 Newfoundland businessman and pilot named Eric Blackwood conceived an airline to serve some of the remotest parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Starting as a so-called “Bush” airline, the company’s small, single engine airplanes used improvised airstrips, frozen lakes or rivers as primitive airports to provide air travel for people, freight and mail to communities often accessible only by boat up until that time. Over the years the company grew to become the pride of the province, flying the latest passenger jets from the legendary Boeing Company, spreading the fame of the province far and wide.
Eventually the airline, under the auspices of another owner, was swallowed up by a much larger airline which, in its turn was swallowed up by an even bigger company, known as Air Canada. But during its heyday the little airline that could became famous for the service it provided, the unique character of the people who made it work and the pride it generated among the people of the province as “our airline.” To this day, many people mourn the demise of Eastern Provincial Airways while remembering fondly the many ways it touched their lives.