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PAL Aerospace will at some point be headed for Guyana to patrol its offshore emerging oil and gas platforms in its territorial waters.
PAL Aerospace has been doing this work for over 40 years, starting in Newfoundland & Labrador with specially modified King Air 200’s, which I am assuming will be the aircraft going down to Guyana, one day, and that work has spread to the Canadian West Coast out of Comox, B.C.
- One of 2 Dutch Coast Guard DHC-8-100 MPA modified and operated by PAL at Curacao
The company went international, where today it maintains 2 specially modified MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) DHC-8-Q300’s that PAL modified for the UAE (United Arab Emirates), as well since 2006 and until just now, it was operating the 2 of its modified MPA DHC-8-Q100’s for the Dutch Coast Guard/Royal Navy out of Curacao, that operation has apparently now been taken over by the Dutch this month I believe.
- One of 2 UAE DHC-8-Q300 MPA modified by PAL
PAL has also looked after the maintenance of 2 modified C26 “Metroliners” operated by Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard (TTAG) for drug trade interdiction and SAR, TTAG also operates 4 x AW139 helicopters today, and one C26 is also operated by the Barbados Air Wing for the same missions as the TTAG.
- One of 2 Trinidad & Tobago SAR and Drug Interdiction C-26 Metroliners maintained by PAL
The company was a privately owned by Gus Ollerhead and Tom Collingwood over a 35 years period, into a $C 185 million a year company, and on November 12, 2014 EIC bought the company for $C 246 million, which was a 5.3 times EBITDA, the highest amount for a company from EIC and the highest multiple, the company was heavily invested in its own airline, FBO’s and its specialized ISR ( intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) and MPA aircraft modifications and operations around the world.
EIC is an investment company that has bought into many Canadian regional airlines (Perimeter, Calm Air, Bearskin, Keewatin) and bought Custom Helicopters all in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, and combined it has over 100 aircraft, making it one of the biggest commercial aircraft operators in Canada after Air Canada, WestJet and Chorus Aviation.
What I always liked about PAL or Provincial way back when it was Provincial, was that it was one of few Canadian companies not afraid to go international, so few Canadian aviation/aerospace go international, especially into the ‘developing’ world, too ‘stuck’ at home too insecure to venture out and compete on the global stage, except for UN air charter contracts.
The PAL partner in Guyana is a small local operator Roraima Airways (3 x BN2 Islanders and two rare 3 engine BN2-III Trislander). The Trislander is a rare bird today, only 72 built versus 1,280 BN2 islanders, but it was a cheap 2+16 passenger aircraft, but greatly underpowered with 3 x 260 hp O-540’s, giving it a 135 kts cruise, at best 980 fpm rate of climb and at 10,000 lbs MTOW, it had a useful load of 4,000 lbs.
- The Roraima Airways BN2 Islander (left) and the 3 engine BN2-III Trislander (right), just 72 were built
Britten Norman looked at re-engining it with possibly 2 Allison/RR 250 turboprop engine, but at 420shp per engine, a power increase would have been just 8%, it would need more like 550 shp per side, so nothing came of it.
Currently, there are 3 x Bristow AW139 helicopters in Guyana on a 5-year contract offering transportation and surly SAR when needed to the offshore oil platforms, there is plenty of oil reserves found in Guyana, yet the world is heading for a future without oil, its an industry that the developing world is looking to be free of in the next 30 years from electric cars, aircraft, and energy self-sufficient homes., the world will have too much oil one day soon, especially if Venezuela, Iran and Libya get back to producing at their former levels.
- One of 3 Bristow AW139 helicopters in Guyana today flying oil workers to the offshore platforms
The small Guyana Defence Force has an aircraft fleet of 6 aircraft and helicopters comprising 1 x SC.7 Shorts Skyvan with a recent acquisition of another reported, plus one BN Islander as well, to add to the one Chinese Y-12-IV, so just 4 fixed-wing aircraft and 2 helicopters, a Bell 206 Jetranger and a Bell 412.
- The Guyana Defence Force Chinese Y-12-IV (left) and the rare Shorts SC.7 Skyvan (only 153 were built between 1963 and 1986) with very few now in service today
Lastly, Guyana has a border dispute with neighboring Venezuela, which claims a large chunk of Guyana for years and Guyana itself claims a large chunk of its easterly neighbor Suriname, with oil discoveries in the region, let’s hope things stay quiet.
The oil fields are big and as you see in the map below, lots of oil companies are making claims in Guyana, which is very good for the future of the country, as long as politicians do not squander the wealth like in Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola, Saudi Arabia, etc. as oil is the MOST corruption plagued industry in the world! (followed by the arms/defense industry) and the poor see very little of its benefits in most oil-producing countries.
Oil brings corruption on a massive scale especially in poor developing countries, let’s hope Guyana is different, and politicians stay clean.