Salt Spring Air

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Salt Spring Air
Founded 2003
Focus cities Ganges, Vancouver, Ganges, Ganges
Fleet size 4[1]
Destinations 10[2][3]
Headquarters Saltspring Island, British Columbia
Key people St. Clair McColl (Founder), Philip Reece (Partner), Lisa Cherneff (Partner), Harold Kirkpatrick (Chief Pilot)

Salt Spring Air (also known as Saltspring Air[4]) is the only floatplane company based on Saltspring Island, British Columbia, Canada.[5] It operates scheduled flights, charter air service and tours based in Ganges[6] and specializes in routes between the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.[7] Along with West Coast Air, Harbour Air and Seair Seaplanes, Salt Spring Air is one of the four airlines that operate in the Vancouver Harbour Water Airport and Vancouver International Water Airport.[8] Scheduled flights by the company also operate between the Gulf Islands and the Vancouver International Airport.[9]


The founder of Salt Spring Air, St. Clair McColl, started operating flights on Saltspring in 1985 when his whole family moved onto the island. McColl, at the time a pilot for Harbour Air, came from a flying family. His father, John B.McColl, was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain.[10] His extended family also includes, Frank and Harry Quigley, flying aces in World War I.[11][12]

In June 2003, McColl started Salt Spring Air, with local seaplane services based on the Gulf Islands with a four-seat Cessna 185. The airline's services were targeted to the islands' residents, and personalized services were offered. Since then, with the introduction of de Havilland Beavers in 2004, the company's fleet has grown to four planes operating six scheduled flights from Salt Spring Island to Vancouver, and other scheduled flights fly to various other locations on the Gulf Islands. It remains the only airline based on Salt Spring Island.[13]

Salt Spring Air became the first seaplane company in North America to outfit its fleet with pop-out safety windows on August 17, 2010.[14]

On February 2011, Salt Spring Air won the prestigious Canada-wide Transport Canada Aviation day award for safety.[15]

During what began as a routine flight on March 19, 2007, St. Clair McColl rescued a father and son from the frigid waters of the Strait of Georgia after a passenger noticed their capsized boat and notified McColl. The pilot and his two passengers were later honoured by the Lifesaving Society of British Columbia for the rescue.[16][17]


A Salt Spring Air Beaver floatplane.
Sunset Ganges Harbour

Saltspring Air offers scheduled seaplane flights to and from:[18]


At the outset, Salt Spring Air operated with a single Cessna 185 single-engine plane. In 2004, the first de Havilland Canada DHC-2 was introduced to the fleet. Known as the "Beaver", the DHC-2 is a much-flown model, with more than 1500 planes serving worldwide.[19]

Saltspring Air currently operates a fleet of four de Havilland Beaver float planes.[1] The Beaver is now the only type of plane employed by the airline.[1][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Salt Transport Canada listing of aircraft owned by Salt Spring Air (enter "Salt Spring Island Air" in the box titled "Owner Name")
  2. ^ Schedule
  3. ^ Scheduled destinations
  4. ^ Salt Spring Air - Retrieved on March 30, 2008
  5. ^ Getting to Salt Spring - Salt Spring Market. Retrieved on March 30, 2008
  6. ^ Local service airlines providing scheduled air services - Transport Canada. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  7. ^ The Islanders Airline - Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Vancouver Harbour ATC
  9. ^ Transport listings - Tourism BC. Retrieved on 30 March 2008.
  10. ^ Air crew roll of honour - Battle of Britain History Society. Retrieved on March 31, 2008
  11. ^ SaltSpring Air - Press Release. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  12. ^ Fighter pilot ace list - Defence Korea. Retrieved on April 1, 2008.
  13. ^ Our story - Saltspring Air. Retrieved on April 1, 2008.
  14. ^ [1] Salt Spring Air has recently become Carbon Neutral - BC Inn Association. Retrieved on April 2, 2008.
  15. ^[dead link]
  16. ^ Awards to Salt Spring Air, pilot and passengers
  17. ^ Times colonist, 20 march 2007 A father and son from Vancouver whose boat capsized in the Strait of Georgia yesterday may owe their lives to a veteran seaplane pilot from Saltspring Air.
  18. ^ Saltspring Air: Scheduled Destinations
  19. ^ a b Our planes - Saltspring Air. Retrieved on April 1, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]