PAL Airlines

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PAL Airlines
PAL Airlines Canada Logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
HubsSt. John's International Airport
Goose Bay Airport
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Focus citiesSt. John's
Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Fleet size33[1][2]
Parent companyExchange Income Corporation
HeadquartersSt. John's International Airport
St. John's, Newfoundland

PAL Airlines (formerly Provincial Airlines) is a regional airline with headquarters at St. John's International Airport in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.[4] PAL operates scheduled passenger, cargo, air ambulance and charter services. PAL is the commercial airline arm of the PAL Group of Companies. In addition to its head office, it also has offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Halifax Stanfield International Airport) and Happy Valley-Goose Bay (CFB Goose Bay). PAL is the second largest regional airline operator in Eastern Canada next to Jazz Aviation.


The airline was established in August 1974 as a flight training and charter operator. Scheduled airline operations began in 1980. In the 1980s, the company also developed its airborne maritime surveillance division, which operated until 1989 as Atlantic Airways. In 1988, it acquired Eastern Flying Service (established in 1956 and operating an extensive air courier network). In 1995, it created an Interprovincial Airlines division to operate scheduled airline operations and entered into a commercial agreement with Air Nova.[5] It is a partner, with the Innu Development Limited partnership, in Innu Mikun Airlines, which serves the Labrador coast.[6]

Traditionally, the company operated light aircraft such as Piper Navajo's and the Britten-Norman Islander around Atlantic Canada. Eventually, the airline began operating DHC-6 Twin Otters and Fairchild Metroliners and, at one point, had a Convair 580 in its fleet. In 2001, PAL took the delivery of its first Saab 340 aircraft. This meant that PAL Airlines had become a 705 carrier, as per Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulations, which meant that the first class of flight attendants were trained at this time. The airline added to its 705 fleet three years later when the company was awarded the VALE Inc. contract for the Voisey's Bay Mine in Labrador. This contract required the use of de-Havilland Dash 8's which began to arrive in 2004. Provincial eventually added more Dash 8's as part of the airline's scheduled air service.

On 12 March 2009, one of Provincial Aerospace's Maritime Patrol Aircraft was first on the scene of Cougar Helicopters Flight 91's ditching, flying "top cover" until other help could arrive, leading to the rescue of the sole survivor.[7]

Between 2011 and 2012, the company was divided into two companies. Remaining under the same ownership, two separate companies (divisions) were formed: Provincial Aerospace and Provincial Airlines. Provincial Aerospace has always been the parent company and, up until recently, consisted of the Maritime Surveillance divisions in Canada, Curaçao and the United Arab Emirates. During the split, both of Provincial's Cessna Citation jets, and the charter and MEDIVAC King Airs in Halifax were moved over to the aerospace division. Anything considered a speciality service (mainly 702 and 703 operations) became aerospace. Provincial Airlines was then left with its fleet of 704 and 705 aircraft which now consists of Twin Otters, a Metroliner, and Dash-8's at 4 bases in St. John's, Halifax, Goose Bay and Montreal. Provincial undertook an internal shift of staff and management.

On February 19, 2014 it was announced that Provincial Airlines was awarded a 4-year contract to be the air service provider for Nalcor Energy on the Lower Churchill Project.

In November 2014, the company was purchased by Exchange Income Corporation, a Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX)-listed stock that owns regional airlines and several manufacturing companies, for a combination of cash and stock worth about $246 million.[8]

Bases and operations[edit]

PAL Airlines bases[edit]

St. John's International Airport: PAL operates the Dash 8 and Metroliner as well as aircraft from the aerospace side of the company out of St. John's. PAL Airlines operates two hangars in St. John's and shares one (Hangar 2 with the aerospace division). Hangar 2 houses Dash 8s and the Metroliner. Hangar 3 holds Dash 8 maintenance as well as the commissary department. Hangar 4 houses a number of departments including human resources, reservations, training, building maintenance, chief pilot and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) of PAL Airlines, flight attendant management, crew room, crew scheduling, dispatch, and System Operational Control Centre (SOCC), and PAL Cargo are also attached to Hangar 4. Hangar 4 can also be rented to store aircraft. One of the PAL owned Shell fixed-base operator (FBO's) located at the St. John's International Airport is located in Hangar 4.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport: PAL operates one hangar in Halifax, which houses a Dash 8. This hangar is shared with the Aerospace Division and its aircraft as well. PAL also operates an Esso Avitat FBO at this hangar. The hangar also has management offices and a crew room.

Air Borealis (PAL Airlines) DHC-6-300 Twin Otter C-FWLG departs Nain Airport, Labrador Canada in 2017.

Goose Bay Airport: Goose Bay is home to PAL Airlines Twin Otter operation under the name of Air Borealis. PAL owns two hangars in Goose Bay. Hangar 14 houses the aircraft groomers, aircraft maintenance for Twin Otters (all PAL aircraft can be serviced in Goose Bay), crew room and dispatch. Hangar 18 in Goose Bay houses the Voisey's Bay check-in desk for the daily charter the Dash 8 provides to Voisey's Bay Aerodrome at the Voisey's Bay mine in Voisey's Bay, northern Labrador. PAL Cargo, Air Borealis charters and management offices are also in Hangar 18.

Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport: PAL Airlines operates from the Starlink Aviation hangar at Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport. The hangar houses Dash 8s for scheduled and charter service throughout Quebec.

PAL Aerospace bases[edit]

St. John's International Airport: Hangars 1 and 6 in St. John's are owned by Provincial Aerospace. Hangar 2 houses the Cessna Citation II MEDIVAC, and 4 Maritime Surveillance (AMSD) King Air 200's. It is shared with the airline division's Dash 8s and Metroliner. Hangar 2 also has the offices of the chief pilot of the AMSD Division, other managers and part of the IT department. Hangar 1 houses the Cessna Citation X and the office of the chief pilot of the jet division and DFO of PAL Aerospace). It also accommodates a Shell FBO and executive offices. The training department for both Aerospace and Airlines is also located in Hangar 1. Hangar 6 is home to PMMD[clarification needed], Provincial's internationally known modification division. This hangar contains a variety of aircraft that PAL is contracted to modify or restore). The accounting department is located 7 km (4.3 mi) from the hangars in the Prince Charles Building.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport: Provincial Aerospace and PAL Airlines share a hangar in Halifax which houses one of PAL Aerospace's King Air 200 Maritime Surveillance aircraft, another King Air 200 MEDIVAC aircraft and two King Air 350 charter aircraft. Provincial Aerospace also has a training base located 3 km (1.9 mi) from the hangar in Halifax for the radar operators of two Dash 8s being operated in the Middle East and the King Air radar operators in Canada. The charter department, which operates the King Air 350's, Citation X and other Provincial Airlines aircraft at its disposal, is also located at the Hangar in Halifax.

CFB Comox: The hangar in Comox, British Columbia is part of CFB Comox and is the base of one of Provincial Aerospace's King Air 200 maritime surveillance aircraft and its pilots.

Curaçao International Airport: Provincial has a maritime surveillance base in Curaçao, Kingdom of the Netherlands, where it operates two Dash 8s under contract for the Dutch Government. PAL aircraft in Curaçao use the call signs "Coast Guard" (for routine patrols or search and rescue operations) and "SAM" (which stands for Special Air Missions when on a classified mission which can be launched without filing a flight plan).

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Provincial has pilots and maintenance of two Dash 8s modified by PMMD in the Middle East based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The crews are not based permanently in Abu Dhabi: they operate on a rotation from Canada. The UAE aircraft use the call sign "Sea Lord".


PAL Airlines offers cargo service to all of its destinations. St. John's and Goose Bay each operate a full cargo facility. The Metroliner is PAL's dedicated cargo aircraft and operate daily cargo flights throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The Twin Otters also are used for cargo flights along the Labrador Coast. For destinations in the Maritimes and Quebec, cargo is moved on scheduled flights. The Dash 8-100's are also capable of being converted to fly as a passenger/cargo combination.


Provincial Aerospace has three aircraft dedicated to charters. The aircraft in the PAL Airlines fleet are also often used for larger charters. PAL has flown charters all over North America and to Africa. Air Borealis also has its own charter division which flies charters along the coast of Labrador and Northern Quebec and specializes in off-strip charters and float operations.


PAL Airlines serves 20 communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec as of February 2016.[3]


The following aircraft are listed by Transport Canada as being registered to PAL Airlines and PAL Aerospace:[1][2]

Aircraft No. of aircraft Variants Notes
Beechcraft 1900 2 1900D 19 passengers, PAL Airlines
Beechcraft Super King Air 10 Model 200, Model B200, Model B300 All are registered to PAL Aerospace and includes MEDIVAC capabilities[9]
Cessna Citation II 1 S550 Air ambulance operated on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, registered to PAL Aerospace
Cessna Citation X 1 750 VIP charter aircraft, registered to PAL Aerospace
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 9 Series 300 All registered to PAL Airlines and operated on behalf of Air Borealis LP; jointly owned by PAL Airlines and the Innu of Nitassinan, Labrador.
Bombardier Dash 8 9 102, 106, 311, 314, 315 One of the DHC-8-311's is operated by PAL Aerospace and all other DHC-8's operated by PAL Airlines.
Swearingen Metroliner 1 SA227-C Registered to PAL Airlines but not listed on the website.

Retired fleet[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for PAL Airlines". Transport Canada. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  2. ^ a b "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for PAL Aerospace". Transport Canada. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  3. ^ a b Where We Fly
  4. ^ "Contact Information[permanent dead link]." PAL Airlines. Retrieved on December 4, 2011. "Head Office: St. John's International Airport RCAF Road, Hangar #4 P.O. Box 29030 St. John's, NL Canada A1A 5B5" and "Halifax Office: Halifax International Airport 647 Barnes Road Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada B2T 1K3" - French[permanent dead link]: "Aéroport International de St. John’s Route RCAF,Hangar nº 4 Case postale 29030 St. John's,Terre-Neuve A1A 5B5 Canada" and "Aéroport International de Halifax 647 route Barnes Halifax, Nouvelle-Écosse B2T 1K3 Canada"
  5. ^ Flight International 12–18 April 2005
  6. ^ "Innu Mikun Airlines". Archived from the original on April 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  7. ^ Baird, Moira; Peter Walsh; Rob Antle (March 13, 2009). "Rescue efforts continue". The Telegram. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  8. ^ "New owners of Provincial Aerospace on the upswing", 16 Nov 2014
  9. ^ Medivac Aircraft Archived 2016-03-01 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]