Pearl Aviation

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Pearl Aviation
IATA ICAO Callsign
ADA Aircraft Registration / AUSCAL (Used on Flight Inspection calibration flights)
Founded 1964
Hubs Darwin International Airport
Secondary hubs Brisbane, Perth, Cairns, Melbourne
Subsidiaries AeroPearl, AeroRescue
Fleet size 26
Parent company Paspaley Pearling
Headquarters Darwin, Northern Territory

Pearl Aviation is the most prominent of a group of aviation companies owned by Paspaley Pearling. It is an air charter company based in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. It operates specialist aviation services including air ambulance, mining site flights, offshore oil support and contract charter. Its main base is Darwin International Airport, with other bases at Brisbane International Airport.[1] Other companies in the Pearl group conduct business jet charter and search and rescue operations, fixed-base operator services, and operations in support of Paspaley's pearling activities, from bases at Darwin Airport, Perth Airport, Mungalalu Truscott Airbase, Cairns International Airport, Essendon Airport and Brisbane Airport.


The airline was formed and started operations in 1964 as Skywest Aviation, which acquired East-West Airlines in 1984 and was itself acquired by Ansett Airlines in 1987. The company was divided into airline and non-airline operations and the non-airline operations were purchased in 1996 by Paspaley Pearling (which by that time had been operating aircraft to its pearl farms for over ten years) and renamed.[2] One of the divisions of East-West that was purchased was an operation at Sydney Airport, conducting air ambulance flights for the Ambulance Service of New South Wales. In 2004 Pearl Aviation was awarded a ten-year contract to operate four Beechcraft Super King Airs configured as air ambulances for the Northern Territory Aerial Medical Service,[3] after losing a similar Ambulance Service of New South Wales contract to the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia the previous year. Pearl Aviation is wholly owned by the Paspaley Pearls Group and has 120 employees (at March 2007).[1]

Paspaley's other aviation companies[edit]

AeroPearl Super King Air 350, used for checking navaids on behalf of Airservices Australia
Grumman Turbo Mallard at Mungalalu Truscott
AeroRescue Dornier 328
The Paspaley Pearl Dassault Falcon 900C VH-PPD

AeroPearl is a joint venture between Pearl Aviation and Aerodata AG of Germany, based at Brisbane Airport.[4] It operates under contract to Airservices Australia; it uses two Beechcraft Super King Airs to check the network of Australian civil aviation navaids, and has also performed similar work in various Asian countries.[5]

AeroRescue conducts Search and Rescue flights on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), using a fleet of five Dornier 328s and one Beechcraft 200T Super King Air based around Australia (Perth, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Melbourne). AeroRescue was awarded a contract by AMSA to provide aircraft in late 2005, and reached its full complement of aircraft in 2007.[6][7][8] These aircraft are equipped with video cameras (FLIR), surface radar scanners and radios to support Search and Rescue operations on land and on sea. All different devices are linked into one single operator workstation called AeroMission which was installed by Aerodata AG between 2005 and 2007 at the Braunschweig Airport in Germany.

Lloyd Aviation Jet Charter, also known as Pearl Air International, operates a fleet of Grumman Turbo Mallards to fly Paspaley employees to the company's pearl farms. The Mallards have been a feature of Paspaley's pearling operations since the early 1980s, and were modified in-house to be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbine engines in place of the original radial engines. Lloyd Aviation also operates a Dassault Falcon 900C business jet on charter flights.[9][10][11]

Pearl Flight Centre is a fixed-base operator (FBO), providing ground handling services for corporate and private aircraft as well as the company's aircraft, via two facilities at Darwin Airport and a facility at Perth Airport. It also manages the charter operations of Pearl group aircraft.[12]


As of December 2009 the Paspaley Group fleet consists of:[8][11][13]

Aircraft operated by Pearl Aviation include (as of August 2016):[14]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-10. p. 62. 
  2. ^ AeroPearl Intercom Newsletter No. 7. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Aerial Medical Service Celebrates 60 Years Of Service"; Northern Territory Government Media Release. Retrieved: 10 September 2008
  4. ^ "Where we are"; AeroPearl website. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Key Operations and Current Programs"; AeroPearl website. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  6. ^ AeroRescue Company profile. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  7. ^ AeroRescue locations. Retrieved: 10 September 2008.
  8. ^ a b Australian civil aircraft register search using "AeroRescue" as the Registered Operator search parameter. Search conducted 2009-12-30.
  9. ^ "Pearl Aviation"; pdf version of Paspaley Pearls web paqe. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  10. ^ Lloyd Aviation Jet Charter Pty. Ltd. AOC. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  11. ^ a b Australian civil aircraft register search using "Paspaley" as the Registered Owner search parameter. Search conducted 2009-12-30.
  12. ^ About Us - Pearl Flight Centre. Retrieved: 9 September 2008.
  13. ^ Australian civil aircraft register search using "Pearl Aviation" as the Registered Operator search parameter. Search conducted 2009-12-30.
  14. ^ "Global Aviation Guide 2016". Airliner World (October 2016): 4.