Friday, January 25, 2019

Great Photos of Pel-Air Aviation SAAB 340A Freighter VH-KDB at Rockhampton Airport

Since 1992, Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (Pel-Air) has been providing the Australian express freight industry with a broad range of aircraft and services.  Freight operations are conducted both domestically and internationally on behalf of major freight forwarders.  Pel-Air’s current freight charter fleet comprises of  three converted SAAB 340A freighter aircraft each with a 3,500 kg capacity per aircraft.  They are registered VH-EKT, VH-KDB and VH-KDK.

In Central Queensland, Pel-Air provides a return Brisbane to Mackay via Rockhampton freight service most weekdays.  One of their SAAB 340A freighters makes a pre-dawn departure from Brisbane as PFY7416 and arrives into Rockhampton Airport before continuing further north to Mackay Airport as PFY7418.  The aircraft generally remains parked at Mackay Airport until late afternoon / early evening when the return service to Brisbane via Rockhampton Airport operates as PFY7415 / PFY7417.

At Rockhampton Airport recently, local photographer Russell P was on hand to capture an 'unscheduled' visit by one of Pel-Air's SAAB 340A freighters registered VH-KDB.  It had arrived into Rocky early in the morning as scheduled but didn't depart as planned; instead remaining parked for the day before it is pictured departing to Mackay Airport in the early evening.

Of interest, this SAAB 340A, VH-KDB, was delivered to Kendell Airlines at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales in December 1991 at the conclusion of a flight from Amsterdam in The Netherlands.  It operated with Australia's largest regional airline until 2001 when Kendell Airlines' parent company, Ansett Australia collapsed.  This grounded the entire fleet of Kendell Airlines aircraft and soon after, Kendell Airlines was placed into administration.

VH-KDB in 1992  (George Gaidzkar /

In 2002, Kendell Airlines, and fellow Ansett subsidiary, Hazelton Airlines, were sold to a consortium known as Australiawide Airlines, from which Regional Express Airlines (known as REX) was formed.  Most of the turboprop aircraft operated by Kendell Airlines at that time were taken over by REX and VH-KDB was registered to the company in 2007.

VH-KDB in 2007  (Ryan Hothersall /

VH-KDB operated its final passenger service for REX flying from Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Wagga Wagga in September 2008.  It was then converted into a freighter at Wagga Wagga soon after.

VH-KDB was transferred to the Regional Express subsidiary company Pel-Air Aviation and operated its first dedicated freighter service for Pel-Air out of Sydney in January 2009.

Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd (trading as Pel-Air) is based in Sydney and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express Holdings, which also owns Australian airlines Regional Express Airlines (REX) and Air Link.

Sincere thanks Russell for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!  Enjoy!

Photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©

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