Air Queensland

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Air Queensland
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1951
Ceased operations 30 April 1988
Hubs Cairns International Airport
Headquarters Cairns, Australia

Air Queensland, formerly Bush Pilots Airways, was an Australian airline which operated from 1951 until 1988.


Bush Pilots Airways was formed in 1951 and operated in Queensland, Australia until 1988. One of its first aircraft was a De Haviland DH-90 "Dragonfly" registered as VH-AAD. This was purchased from Adastra Airways Ltd in Sydney in 1951 and flown to Cairns, Queensland by Bush Pilots founder Bob Norman.[1]

In May 1972 Bush Pilots absorbed Queensland Pacific Airways Ltd, taking over its Douglas DC-3 aircraft.

In 1978 Bush Pilots Airways changed their name to BPA. BPA operated Douglas DC-3 aircraft, Britten-Norman Trislanders and Swearingen Metroliners. Operations were largely in Queensland, Australia, although the airline also provided service to Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. The services north from Brisbane (and return) were very popular with business travellers and tourists alike. A typical run involved stops in regional cities between Brisbane and Townsville, such as Maroochydore, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, and Mackay. Short distance services operated from Cairns to inland and coastal locations such as Cooktown, Karumba and Normanton. With such frequent stops a high altitude was never achieved, offering good views of this scenic part of the state.

On 1 December 1981 BPA became Air Queensland. Air Queensland was the last airline in Australia to use Douglas DC-3s on regular scheduled services, the last being withdrawn on 7 April 1988.[2] The Air Queensland name ceased to exist on 30 April 1988 when the airline was absorbed into Australian Airlines (later absorbed into Qantas). The last General Manager was Ron Entsch.[3]

A Douglas DC-3 formerly operated by Bush Pilots Airways was on display at Cairns International Airport from 1984 until 2008, when it was removed due to concerns over its structural integrity.[4]

By 1988 Air Queensland served 44 destinations throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Aircraft Used[edit]


  1. ^ "Bush Pilot", Bob Norman, 1976
  2. ^ History of DC-3 c/n 9286
  3. ^ "Bushies", Ron Entsch, 2001 ISBN 0-646-41241-8
  4. ^ "Bush Pilots plane pulled down". ABC News. 5 September 2008. 

External links[edit]