Louie, chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of H.Y. Louie Co. Limited and London Drugs Limited, always gave freely
of his time and money to help make his community of Vancouver a better place.
He was a trustee of St. Paul's Hospital, a
member of its finance committee and Honorary Campaign Chairman of St. Paul's
Hospital Foundation. He was a director of the Pacific Otolaryngology Foundation,
the B.C. and Yukon Heart Foundation and a recipient of the Variety Club's
"Golden Heart" Award for raising funds to aid the Children's Hospital.
He was a member of the Board of Governors of
the University of British Columbia and the B.C. Business Council. UBC has
awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Laws and Letters and in 1989, he was named
to the Order of Canada. For his community leadership, the YMCA of Greater
Vancouver named him 1988 Outstanding Community Volunteer Leader.
H.Y. Louie / London Drugs
||Chief pilot Mike Krall
follows CEO Wynne Powell aboard London Air's new Challenger 604
12-passenger jet gives luxury charter
service its new global reach
First there was the drugstore cowboy. Now
there is Air Drugstore, a.k.a as London Air Services.
The Vancouver-based chartered airline is
cutting a swathe through the upmarket charter air business, ferrying the likes
of golfing great Jesper Parnevik and movie star Al Pacino through the wild
blue yonder to the destination of their choice.
The airline which operates out of the South
Vancouver airport is now adding full global service to its network with the
addition of a swank $26 million, 12-passenger Challenger 604 to a fleet that
already has two Learjet 45s.
So what might you ask is the H.Y. Louie
Group, established in consumer minds through its IGA supermarkets and London
Drugs, doing in the aviation business?
Wynne Powell, president of London Drugs and
the airline, keeps it simple: "We are making money and doing good
It's a long march from the humble
beginnings of the small general store started here in 1903 by Hok
Yat Louie, a Chinese immigrant.
Powell says the company has invested well
over $50 million in its fleet.
The airline started two years ago when
Powell said London executives found they needed to get places in a hurry to do
After problems with booking planes, Powell
crunched the numbers and decided to buy his own aircraft.
London Air Services has never looked back
and, apart from catering to his own executives, now counts the Hollywood
crowd, sporting stars and others amongst its clientele.
He says since Sept. 11 the demand for
charter aircraft has further intensified and London now boasts nine topline
pilots, maintenance staff and its own security force, a retired RCMP officer.
Powell says purchasing the Challenger,
which will be able to fly to Asia, non-stop to Europe and virtually everywhere
else in the world is a "bit of a leap in entrepreneurial faith."
But he feels sure it will pay handsome
dividends as well.
Its sumptuous interior is designed to
provide the ultimate in travel comfort -- leather seats, couches that convert
to beds and private attendant on request. There's even a putting green for
those idle moments.
So how much does it all cost?
A return trip to Calgary on the Learjet it
is about $5,400. For 12 people on the Challenger the same trip would be around
The per mile charge is $12.75.
It makes huge business sense for
business types and others who need to get somewhere fast, says Powell.
- by Ashley Ford The
Province 8 March 2002