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Pacific Coastal Airlines

Pacific Coastal Airlines Ltd.
IATA ICAO Callsign
8P PCO[1] PASCO[1]
Founded1987; 37 years ago (1987)
AOC #Pacific Coastal 2870,[2]
Wilderness 18449[3]
HubsVancouver International Airport
Fleet size29[4]
HeadquartersSea Island, Richmond, British Columbia
Key peopleSmith family

Pacific Coastal Airlines is a Canadian regional airline that operates scheduled, charter and cargo services to destinations in British Columbia. Its head office is located in the South Terminal of Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia.[6] Its main base is Vancouver International Airport.[5]


Grumman G-21 Goose of Pacific Coastal Airlines now operated by Wilderness Seaplanes at Vancouver Airport in 2008

The original Pacific Coastal Airlines was established in 1956 as Cassidair Services,[7] operating from its base at the airport in Cassidy, now Nanaimo Airport, south of Nanaimo.[8] In early 1980, the airline was acquired by Jim Pattison Industries and absorbed into Airwest Airlines, also recently acquired by Pattison.[9] At the time of the acquisition, Pacific Coastal was operating on the Nanaimo-Vancouver, Victoria–Nanaimo–ComoxCampbell RiverPort Hardy, and Nanaimo-Qualicum BeachPort Alberni routes.[10] On November 1, 1980, Airwest and several other local airlines recently acquired by Pattison were merged into Air BC.[11]

The current Pacific Coastal Airlines was established in 1987 by the merger of Powell Air and the Port Hardy division of Air BC.[12] It acquired the shares and assets of Wilderness Seaplanes on April 1, 1998.

A new airline division, Wilderness Seaplanes, which started service on May 5, 2016, was established to take over the Pacific Coastal Airlines Seaplane Division and is based at Port Hardy and Bella Bella.[13][14]

On November 24, 2017, WestJet and Pacific Coastal announced a code sharing agreement to operate Saab 340 aircraft under the WestJet Link brand commencing in June 2018. These aircraft are based at the WestJet hub at Calgary International Airport and serve destinations such as Lethbridge and Lloydminster with aircraft also being based at Vancouver International Airport with service to Cranbrook and Comox.

Destinations in British Columbia

A Pacific Coastal Airlines Shorts 360 on the ground at Bella Bella, British Columbia
A Beechcraft 1900C, flown by Pacific Coastal Airlines, landing at Vancouver International Airport

As of January 2023, Pacific Coastal Airlines operates services to the following eighteen destinations in British Columbia:[5]


As of January 2024, Pacific Coastal Airlines had twenty-three aircraft registered with Transport Canada, plus six registered to Wilderness Seaplanes:[4]

Pacific Coastal Airlines, Beech 1900C
Pacific Coastal Airlines fleet
Aircraft Number Variants Notes
Beechcraft 1900 11 1900C, 1900D 19 passengers, based in Vancouver
Cessna 185 Skywagon 1 C-185F 3 passengers, based in Port Hardy, operated by Wilderness Seaplanes
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 3 DHC-2, DHC-2 MK. I 4 passengers, based in Port Hardy, two operated by Wilderness Seaplanes and one by Pacific Coastal (not on website)
Grumman Goose 4 G-21A 9 passengers, based in Port Hardy, includes three craft operated by Wilderness Seaplanes and one by Pacific Coastal (not on website)
Saab 340 10 340A, 340B 30 or 34 passengers, based in Vancouver and Calgary (June 2018). Operated for WestJet Link[15]
Total 29

Incidents and accidents

  • On August 3, 2008, a Grumman G-21 Goose aircraft with seven passengers and crew crashed during a flight from Port Hardy to Chamiss Bay. The aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire. There were only two survivors.[16]
  • On November 16, 2008, a Grumman G-21 Goose aircraft with seven passengers and one pilot crashed on South Thormanby Island off British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, during a flight from Vancouver International Airport to Toba Inlet. The plane was flown into a hillside and exploded into a mass of burning wreckage according to the lone survivor, who was rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard.[17][18][19][20]


  1. ^ a b "ICAO Designators for Canadian Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services" (PDF). Nav Canada. May 4, 2023. p. 6. Retrieved February 26, 2023. Pacific Coastal Airline: PCO, PASCO
  2. ^ Transport Canada (September 2, 2019), Civil Aviation Services (CAS) AOC.
  3. ^ Transport Canada (September 2, 2019), Civil Aviation Services (CAS) AOC.
  4. ^ a b "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Pacific Coastal Airlines". Transport Canada. Retrieved January 8, 2023., "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Wilderness Seaplanes". Transport Canada. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c "Destinations". Pacific Coastal Airlines. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  6. ^ "Contact Us". Pacific Coastal Airlines. Retrieved January 8, 2023. Pacific Coastal Airlines Head Office Vancouver International Airport - South Terminal 4440 Cowley Crescent Unit 204 Richmond BC V7B 1B8
  7. ^ "Cassidair Services". Airline History. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Flight International. March 20, 1976. p. 703. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle". Ladysmith, British Columbia. February 6, 1980. p. 17.
  10. ^ "North Island Gazette". Port Hardy. February 20, 1980. p. 15.
  11. ^ Flight International. November 7, 1981. p. 1388. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Schofield, Jack (2010). A Pilot's Journey Log: Daryl Smith and Pacific Coastal Airlines. Mayne Island, BC: CoastDog Press. ISBN 978-0981313917.
  13. ^ "Announcing Wilderness Seaplanes". January 24, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  14. ^ "About Us - Bases". Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  15. ^ "Pacific Coastal Airlines starts WestJet Link operations". World Airline News. June 20, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  16. ^ "Investigators head to site of B.C. plane crash that killed 5". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. August 3, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "7 Dead In Plane Crash Off B.C. Coast". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 16, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  18. ^ "Thick fog may be to blame for B.C. crash". Vancouver Sun. November 18, 2008. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012.
  19. ^ "Victims of Thormanby Island plane crash identified". Daily Commercial News. November 19, 2008. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011.
  20. ^ "A look inside the doomed B.C. plane". CTV Television Network. November 17, 2008.
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Pacific Coastal Airlines
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