Aeropelican Air Services Pty Ltd
is a regional airline
Regional airlines are airlines that operate regional aircraft to provide passenger air service to communities without sufficient demand to attract mainline service...
based in Newcastle, New South Wales
The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and includes most of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Local Government Areas...
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
. Its main base is Newcastle Airport (Williamtown)
Newcastle Airport is north of Newcastle, New South Wales in Port Stephens. It is the 12th busiest airport in Australia, handling almost 1.2 million passengers in the year ending 30 June 2009, which is 107,000 more than in 2007-08.-Overview:...
, with a hub at Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport may refer to:* Sydney Airport, also known as Kingsford Smith International Airport, in Sydney, Australia* Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport, in Nova Scotia, Canada...
The airline was established on 23 October 1968 and started operations on 1 July 1971. It originally was owned by the Newcastle-based Hilder family, however in 1980 the airline was sold to Masling Airlines, a company associated with the now-defunct Ansett Australia
Ansett Australia, Ansett, Ansett Airlines of Australia, or ANSETT-ANA as it was commonly known in earlier years, was a major Australian airline group, based in Melbourne. The airlines flew domestically within Australia and to destinations in Asia during its operation in 1996...
. It operated services for Ansett Australia and later became a wholly owned subsidiary.
Aeropelican's main route has historically been between Sydney and Belmont Airport
Belmont Airport is an airfield located in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Pelican, 15 km south of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Scheduled commercial service was provided by regional airline Aeropelican until 2006. Since then, airfield has virtually ceased operations.Belmont Airport has been...
in Newcastle's southern suburbs, with high frequency service using de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
The DHC-6 Twin Otter is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and currently produced by Viking Air. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and MEDEVAC...
s. Aeropelican originally owned this airport.
Following the collapse of parent company Ansett Australia in September 2001, Aeropelican was placed into administration. It was acquired by International Air Parts in April 2002. On 20 June 2003 the airline entered into a commercial agreement with Regional Express Airlines
Regional Express Pty Ltd is an airline based in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. It operates scheduled regional services. It is Australia's largest regional airline outside the Qantas group of companies and serves New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, North Queensland and Tasmania...
Aeropelican commenced services from Sydney to Newcastle's other airport (Williamtown, to the north of the city) on 1 March 2004. An Embraer Bandeirante
The Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante is a general purpose 15-21 passenger twin-turboprop light transport aircraft suitable for military and civil duties...
started services from Williamtown on 20 September 2004 to augment the two Twin Otters used before. In March 2005 the airline discontinued service from Belmont Airport. A Fairchild Metro 23
The Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner or the Fairchild Aerospace Metro is a 19-seat, pressurised, twin turboprop airliner first produced by Swearingen Aircraft and later by Fairchild at a plant in San Antonio, Texas, United States....
aircraft was also added to the fleet in 2005 and the Twin Otters were withdrawn. In 2006, three BAe Jetstream 32
s were ordered, with plans to announce new services. In December 2006, Aeropelican was awarded the Sydney to Inverell route licence after the previous operator Big Sky Express
Big Sky Express was an airline based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was established and started operations in 2004 and was an Australian community airline operating scheduled domestic passenger services in the north western part of New South Wales...
ceased operations. After the first two Jetstream 32s were placed into service in 2007, the Metro was withdrawn from service. In December 2007 Aeropelican announced that, subject to regulatory approval, it would commence operations between Newcastle and Tamworth, New South Wales
Tamworth is a city in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. Straddling the Peel River, Tamworth, which contains an estimated population of 47,595 people, is the major regional centre for southern New England and in the local government area of Tamworth Regional Council. The city...
on 12 February 2008. The airline subsequently received regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the Australian national aviation authority , the government statutory authority responsible for the regulation of civil aviation.-History:...
and commenced operations on the route, however the following September it ceased flights to Tamworth, citing poor passenger numbers on the route.
Also in 2008 International Air Parts sold the airline to Business Air Holdings.
Brindabella Airlines Merger
In October 2011, it was announced by Aeropelican's Business Development Manager, Fabrice Binet, that Canberra-based regional operator Brindabella Airlines
Brindabella Airlines Pty Ltd is a regional airline based in Canberra, Australia. It is a Qantas affiliate airline operating a small regional network. Its main base is Canberra International Airport.- History :...
would merge with Aeropelican, following the withdrawal of Brindabella's majority shareholder. It is speculated that this merger would add two BAe Jetstream 41
and three Metroliner III turboprops to Aeropelican's fleet. Aeropelican did hint however, that at least one of the BAe Jetstream 41 turboprops would service the Sydney to Cooma (Snowy Mountains) route during the 2012 Ski Season.
As of January 2011, scheduled services are operated on the following routes:
- Sydney to Newcastle (Williamtown Airport)
- Sydney to Narrabri
- Sydney to Mudgee
- Sydney to Cooma (Snowy Mountains)
- Newcastle to Narrabri
- Brisbane to Narrabri
As of April 2010 the Aeropelican fleet consists of:
- 5 BAe Jetstream 32
The British Aerospace Jetstream is a small twin-turboprop airliner, with a pressurised fuselage, developed as the Jetstream 31 from the earlier Handley Page Jetstream-Development:...