Meet Canada’s PAL Airlines: A Regional Carrier In Eastern Canada

You might not have heard of PAL Airways, but the well-established carrier is Eastern Canada’s second-largest regional airline after Jazz Aviation. With its headquarters in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Labrador, PAL operates scheduled passenger, cargo, and air charter services.

PAL Airlines Dash 8
PAL Airlines is the second-largest regional airline in Eastern Canada. Photo: PAL Airlines

PAL Airlines has served Eastern Canada for over 45 years

PAL Airlines is the commercial airline branch of the PAL Group of Companies. Formerly called Provincial Airlines, the airline started in 1974 as a flight school. As it became established, it added charter services to its operations. The airline evolved to become one of the largest independent carriers in Eastern Canada.

In addition to its St. John’s headquarters, PAL has bases at Goose Bay, Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia, and Montréal Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau Airport. The carrier serves over 25 communities throughout Quebec and the Atlantic Canada provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

In the beginning, PAL flew light aircraft like the Piper Navajo and the Britten-Norman Islander. In the late 1980s, the company acquired Fairchild Metroliners to build its air passenger traffic. Subsequently, in 1995, it expanded its fleet with DHC-6 Twin Otters. With the arrival of its first SAAB 340 aircraft, PAL became a licensed 705 carrier under Canadian Aviation Regulations. After being awarded the contract for air services for the Voisey’s Bay Mine in Labrador, PAL began using De Havilland Dash 8 planes.

Air-Borealis-Twin-Otter
Air Borealis operates a fleet of Twin-Otter DHC-6 aircraft. Photo: Air Borealis

Air Borealis

In partnership with the Inuit and Innu First Nations of Labrador, PAL Airlines established Air Borealis in 2017. Based at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the airline provides scheduled passenger flights and cargo services to connect the people of the North Coast of Labrador and Quebec Lower North Shore. Air Borealis has a fleet of nine De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, which can be converted to land on snow or water. In July 2020, the carrier added a rotary-wing division to supply helicopter services with a Eurocopter ASTAR B2.

PAL Airlines Dash 8-100
PAL Airlines’ fleet includes Dash 8-100, 300, and 400 aircraft. Photo: PAL Airlines

PAL Airlines’ fleet

According to Planespotters.net, PAL Airlines currently operates its passenger services with a fleet of 10 De Havilland Dash 8 aircraft with an average age of 26.6 years. The fleet is comprised of two DHC-8-100s, seven DHC-8-300s, and one DHC-8-400. Additionally, the airline has Cessna Citation X, King Air 350, Dash 8, Twin Otter, and Beech 1900D aircraft for charter services.

The airline announces an enhanced winter schedule

While Air Canada has indefinitely suspended many of its routes in Atlantic Canada, PAL Airlines announced on December 11 that it was enhancing its winter schedule and adding two new routes. From the first week of January 2021, the airline will introduce routes between Moncton and Deer Lake and Moncton and Wabush.

The carrier has also increased the frequencies of services across the Quebec market to enhance connectivity between its Montreal and Wabush hubs. As travel restrictions in the region are progressively eased, PAL also intends to initiate a Moncton to Ottawa service.

Janine Browne, director of business development and sales at PAL airlines, said,

“We have been able to … continue offering essential air services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritimes and Quebec, so we’re really excited to be able to beef up that service.”

It’s great to hear positive news from a carrier, even if it is one as small as PAL Airlines.

Have you ever flown with PAL Airlines? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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