THE HISTORY OF PIONAIR
Pionair began its life in New Zealand during the 1990's as an operator of the Douglas DC-3 . The name Pionair comes from a class of aircraft operated by British European Airways ( BEA ) - the Pionair class. Many people think we cannot spell, but now you know the truth!
Pionairs main business was charter and tourist flights and soon Convair 580 aircraft were added. These were far more reliable than the DC-3's and had much better passenger appeal, but retained the nostalgia that the company was know for.
The Conviar was originally built in the early 1950's as a piston powered aircraft , similar to the DC-3. Its size and excellent design led it to be re-engined in the 1970s with Alison Turboprops and this gave it a new lease of life both as a passenger aircraft and a cargo aircraft
As Pionairs fortunes improved an offshoot of Pionair N.Z. was established in Australia to capitalise on the growth of the Fly in Fly out markets . By 2007 Pionair Australia had 5 Convair 580's working in both Cargo and Passenger rolls.
Sadly when the Global Financial Crisis ( GFC ) hit in 2008 , Pionair fell on hard times. The Fly in Fly out work ceased and all the company was left with was two Cargo aircraft. By this time the Parent company in New Zealand had also disappeared and Pionair struggled on led by a small band of loyal employees.
In 2013 the plight of the company became known to Mr Steve Ferris, a seasoned aviation entrepreneur. Mr Ferris had previously owned Horizon Airlines and Aeropelican Airlines. He also ran a successful aircraft spares, and plane leasing company International Air Parts.
This listed on the stock exchange as part of a merger in 2007.
Understanding that the company could not survive operating Convair's, Mr Ferris embarked upon a plan to re-equip with the BAe146 type aircraft. This aircraft type was widely used in Australia during the Ansett years. Having both passenger and cargo versions provided the versitility that was needed to revitalise the business.
Today Pionair is the only company in Australia, outside Qantas to operate both Cargo and Passenger aircraft in their fleet. It is also the ONLY company in the Asia Pacific region to operate the New Embraer E190-E2.