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.
Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Ltd is the dominant company in the group and controls all aspects of the business from its Brisbane headquarters. The company holds an Australian international airline licence with approvals for international scheduled cargo services on the following routes: Australia-PNG; Australia-Solomon Islands; Australia-Vanuatu; Australia-Fiji; Australia-Nauru.
The International Air Services Commission (IASC) has allocated unlimited freight capacity on the Australia-China route to PAE.
In 1995 Gary founded Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Limited, an Australian based international cargo airline. Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Limited holds an Australian international airline licence.
IATA designated airline code for PAE’s scheduled international services is PE.
ICAO designated code for flight planning is PCF and designated ATC call-sign is PACIFIC.
Aircraft Historical Background
Pacific Air Express Limited was incorporated in the Solomon Islands in January 1993 and operated its first scheduled flight from Honiara to Townsville in July 1993 using a beech Super Kingair. The airline grew rapidly and to accommodate growth in demand the small Kingair was replaced by a leased B737-300F freighter aircraft in December 1994, then a larger capacity leased B727-200F in November 1995, which the Solomon Island company operated until mid 2000 when the aircraft was transferred to the Australian register and operated by associate company Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Ltd.
Pacific Air Express 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 Airport.
During mid-1999 the Solomon Islands began sliding towards political instability due to ethnic tensions, and the directors moved to protect the business by transferring the flying operations activity into the Australian company. The B727-200F was transferred to the Australian register and operated under the company’s Australian air operator certificate issued in April 2000.
With rapidly increasing fuel costs during the last decade the reliable but thirsty B727F was retired from service in November 2007 and replaced by the smaller capacity but more fuel efficient B737-300F aircraft (ACMI operated by NZ company). Pacific Air Express currently operates two B737F aircraft on its regional route network under an ACMI arrangement with Australian logistics company.
Pacific Air Express Australia Pty Ltd is now the dominant company and controls all aspects of the business from its Brisbane headquarters. The company holds an Australian international airline licence and approvals for international scheduled cargo services on the following routes: Australia-PNG; Australia-Solomon Islands; Australia-Vanuatu; Australia-Fiji; Australia-Nauru.