Pel-Air takes delivery of first of five King Air 350s

written by Adam Thorn | December 1, 2020
ACO training is conducted with King Air 350s operated by 32SQN. (Defence)

Pel-Air has announced it has taken delivery of the first of five Beechcraft King Air 350s that will be used to service its new 10-year contract with NSW Ambulance’s fixed-wing patient transport service.

VH-AMD, serial number FM-88, departed Marshall Islands International Airport on Sunday, 29 November at 7:10pm and landed in Townsville at 1:47am the next day. On Monday, it continued onto Shellharbour Airport in NSW.

The airline, a subsidiary of Rex, said it’s preparing for the start of operations in January 2022 and is currently recruiting the pilots needed.

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The King Airs will undergo local modifications to meet the requirements of the ambulance service, allowing it to carry out services such as transferring patients, carrying newborns and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service operations.

Australian Aviation first reported the deal – to provide five fixed-wing planes, pilots and engineering support – in February this year.

Pel-Air chairman John Sharp said then, “We are honoured to be supporting NSW Ambulance in providing this critical service to the NSW community.

“This award is a clear recognition of Pel-Air’s undisputed ability to provide safe, reliable and high-quality aeromedical services on fixed-wing aircraft at the most competitive prices.

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“We solemnly commit to the NSW government that we will spare no efforts in achieving the satisfaction levels which Ambulance Victoria has experienced for the last decade.”

Pel-Air operates a fleet of aircraft that includes the Saab 340, Westwind 1124, Learjet 35/36 and Beechcraft King Air B200C, and has further access to more than 50 Saab 340 aircraft owned by REX.

Last month, Rex itself finally signed off on a $150 million investment that will allow it to lease six 737s and expand its operations to also rival Qantas and Jetstar.

The airline will draw down an initial $50 million in January next year from PAG Asia Capital and the deal will see the APAC organisation nominate two directors to sit on the board.

The pair first revealed they were in advanced negotiations in September but the development means the airline can confirm it will fly Sydney–Melbourne with three aircraft on 1 March 2021, before ramping up to five by Easter.

The news that a deal for new routes will launch comes after Rex recorded an underlying profit before tax of $250,000 and an increase in revenue, from $318 million last year to $322 million in FY20, despite the coronavirus crisis.

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