Pel-Air Aviation
Pel Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
PA PFY PELFLIGHT
Founded1984
HubsYBBN, YPAD, YSSY, YMEN
Fleet size16
Parent companyRegional Express Holdings
HeadquartersMascot, New South Wales
Key peopleEugene Lee, COO
Websitewww.pelair.com.au

Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (trading as Pel-Air) is an airline based in Mascot, Sydney, Australia. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express Holdings, which also owns Australian airline Regional Express Airlines (Rex).[1]

Pel-Air specialises in air charter and ad hoc services, operating executive charter services throughout Australasia, as well as a freight service. It also operates medevac and government support services with its fleet of Westwind aircraft. Its main bases are Brisbane Airport , Adelaide Airport, Sydney Airport and Essendon Airport.

History

Three Pel-Air Westwinds parked together
Three Pel-Air Westwinds parked together

The company was founded in 1984 and the following year acquired its first Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Westwind aircraft. In January 1989 it commenced scheduled passenger-carrying operations in Western Australia via subsidiary company Qwestair, initially with a leased Beech 200 Super King Air flying between Perth and Telfer. A Westwind replaced the King Air in March of that year, and a Cessna 310 was added in January 1992 to operate between Port Hedland and Telfer via Marble Bar and Woodie Woodie. Qwestair ceased operations in November 1995 after the Perth-Telfer route was awarded to another company, and the two Westwinds then in use returned to Pel-Air operations.[2]

Also in 1995 Pel-Air took over Newcastle Aviation, an operator of Fairchild Metro III, and leased Metro II and Mitsubishi MU-2 freighters. Following the takeover the Mitsubishis and Metro IIs were handed back to their owners and the Metro III fleet was expanded. In 1996 Pel-Air won a contract to provide support to the Royal Australian Navy, resulting in further expansion of the fleet with the acquisition of four Learjets. In 1997 Pel-Air acquired several Metro II aircraft and on-sold them to the Royal Australian Air Force for use as training aids at RAAF Base Wagga near Wagga Wagga. In 2003 the company introduced a new type into its fleet when it took delivery of a leased Beechcraft 1900C freighter. The type proved to be more expensive to operate than the Metro III and the two aircraft in the fleet were handed back to their lessors.

In 2005 another new type was added to the fleet when the company placed an Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia freighter into service, for use on nightly flights between Sydney and Brisbane carrying Fairfax Media newspapers. Also in 2005 it was announced that Pel-Air would be purchased in stages by Regional Express Holdings; the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary in mid-2007. Also in 2007, Aspen Medical entered an existing joint venture between Pel-Air and CareFlight International to operate air ambulance flights out of Darwin International Airport using one of the Westwind aircraft.

Pel-Air IAI Westwind with Careflight International and Aspen Medical titles
Pel-Air IAI Westwind with Careflight International and Aspen Medical titles

In June 2008 it was announced that a Pel-Air Westwind II would be based at Perth Airport for use as an air ambulance in conjunction with CareFlight.[3] This service was withdrawn in June 2009.

In late 2008 the company added another new type to the fleet, when it took delivery of two Saab 340A freighters, previously operated in passenger service with the parent company's other airline subsidiary Regional Express Airlines.[4] A third Saab 340 was converted to a freighter and transferred from Regional Express a year later.

In February 2009 Pel-Air began fly-in fly-out operations from Townsville Airport on behalf of Barrick Gold, after the previous operator MacAir Airlines collapsed; using Saab 340Bs of sister airline Rex to provide the service.[5] Fly-in fly-out operations expanded later that year when flights from Adelaide Airport on behalf of Iluka Resources commenced in August under a three-year contract.[6]

Victorian Air Ambulance Beechcraft B200C King Air operated by Pel-Air
Victorian Air Ambulance Beechcraft B200C King Air operated by Pel-Air

In April 2009 Regional Express Holdings announced that due to the cancellation of a number of contracts it would cease all scheduled Metro III freight operations at the end of May. Remaining scheduled freight operations would be conducted using the Saab 340As.[7] Also in April Regional Express Holdings launched RexJet Executive Charter as a division of Pel-Air, in a rebranding and expansion of the group's existing passenger air charter business.[8][9]

In July 2009 the parent company announced that Pel-Air had been named as preferred tenderer for the provision of air ambulance services in Victoria. The company took over from the previous operator, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, in mid-2011.[10]

In February 2020 Regional Express announced Pel-Air will be providing Air Ambulance services on behalf of New South Wales Ambulance, placing an order with Beechcraft for five King Air 350 aircraft.[11] Pel-Air further announced the procurement of 2 Pilatus PC-24 aircraft to be introduced into NSW ambulance service from the second half of 2023.[12] Pel-Air will take over from the previous operator, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, in January 2022 on a 10-year contract.[13]

Fleet

Pel-Air Saab 340A freighter conversion
Pel-Air Saab 340A freighter conversion
Former Pel-Air Gates Learjet 35A target tug aircraft based at the Royal Australian Navy air base HMAS Albatross
Former Pel-Air Gates Learjet 35A target tug aircraft based at the Royal Australian Navy air base HMAS Albatross
Former Pel-Air Brasilia at Sydney Airport. The company operated one of the type
Former Pel-Air Brasilia at Sydney Airport. The company operated one of the type

As of September 2021 the Pel-Air fleet consists of the following aircraft:[14]

Previously operated

Incidents and accidents

See also

References

  1. ^ "Rex expects 10% increase in earnings". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 August 2007.
  2. ^ Australian Aviation magazine annual Regional Airline Directories 1989, 1992 and 1996. Aerospace Publications.
  3. ^ "Jet ambulance to boost medical evacuation services in W.A. (Perth)"; CareFlight Media Release. Retrieved: 5 September 2008
  4. ^ "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft" - Rex Media Release retrieved 21 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Regional Express Subsidiary Pel-Air Awarded Osborne Mine Contract" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 8 December 2009.
  6. ^ "Rex Subsidiary Pel-Air Awarded Jacinth-Ambrosia Charter Contract" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 8 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Rex to Cease Metro 3 Freight Services" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 10 June 2009.
  8. ^ "Rex to offer private jets" - traveldaily.com.au news, 28 April 2009 retrieved 8 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Rex Subsidiary Pel-Air Awarded Commonwealth Air Transport Deed of Standing Offer" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 8 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Rex wholly-owned subsidiary Pel-Air selected as preferred tenderer by Ambulance Victoria" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 25 October 2009.
  11. ^ “Pel-Air to update King Air fleet” - Australian Flying Retrieved 3 March 2020
  12. ^ "Media Releases".
  13. ^ "Rex subsidiary Pel-Air awarded NSW Air Ambulance tender" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 9 March 2020.
  14. ^ Australian civil aircraft register search, using "Pel-Air" as the search parameter.
  15. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World: 4. October 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "Pel-Air crash list". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  17. ^ Australian Transport Safety Bureau Aviation Safety Investigation Report - IAI 1124A VH-NGA retrieved 4 December 2009.
  18. ^ "CareFlight/Pel-Air Medical Evacuation Incident - Samoa to Melbourne" - Regional Express Holdings Media Release retrieved 20 November 2009.