The Pacific Air Express group of companies (PAE) was founded in 1993 by Gary Clifford, an airline pilot based in the Solomon Islands. PAE was the first all-cargo airline to operate scheduled freighter services in the Western Pacific region.
PAE operated its first scheduled flight from Honiara to Townsville in July 1993 using a Beech Super Kingair type aircraft. The airline grew rapidly and to accommodate growth in demand the Kingair was replaced by a leased B737-300F freighter aircraft in December 1994, then a larger capacity leased B727-200F in November 1995.
Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Ltd (PAE Australia Pty Ltd) was established in 1996 as an Australian subsidiary company to look after all freight consolidation, tuna transhipments and airline agent tasks at Brisbane International Airport.
From 2000 PAE Australia Pty Ltd controlled all aspects of the PAE’s operations from its Brisbane headquarters and the B727-200F was transferred to the Australian register and operated under PAE Australia Pty Ltd Australian Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
PAE holds an Australian international airline licence and approvals for international scheduled cargo services on the following routes: Australia-Papua New Guinea; Australia-Solomon Islands; Australia-Vanuatu; Australia-Fiji; Australia-Nauru.
The B727F was retired from service in November 2007 and replaced by smaller capacity but more fuel efficient B737-300F aircraft (ACMI operated by a New Zealand company). PAE currently operates two B737F aircraft on its regional route network under an ACMI arrangement with an Australian logistics company.
In 2016 PAE Australia Pty Ltd identified the growing need to provide dedicated freight services form Australia to South East Asia and decided to obtain its own aircraft and route approvals to provide these services.
This expansion plan resulted in PAE purchasing 2 B757F aircraft, setting up a new Australian Air Operators Certificate (AOC) supported by its own Part 42 Continuing Airworthiness Maintenance Organisation (CAMO), Part 145 Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), Ground Handling Department and Safety & Quality Department.
In 2017 Australia‘s International Air Services Commission (IASC) approved PAE’s determination request, which allocated unlimited freight capacity and frequency on Australia – China routes.
PAE has also been able to obtain regulatory approvals to operate services from Australia to Hong Kong and look forward to opportunities to commence operations.
PAE’s first B757F (VH-PQA) arrived in Brisbane on the 28th November 2018 after having completed a heavy maintenance visit, including avionics upgrades, and receiving an Australian Certificate of Approval (C of A).
In December 2018 the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) issued PAE with their AOC (RPT & Charter), Part 42 and Part 145 approvals.
PAE’s second B757F is currently undergoing maintenance and avionic upgrades and will be introduced into service in the near future.
PAE’s IATA designated airline code for scheduled international services is PE and call sign is Pacific.