Discovering the Rich History of Belau Air: The National Carrier of Palau

Belau Air has a rich and varied history, stretching back more than sixty years. Founded in 1959, Belau Air is the national carrier of Palau, a small island nation located in the western Pacific Ocean. Belau Air is the main provider of air transportation services to the residents of Palau, as well as to tourists and business travelers.

Belau Air’s fleet includes ATR-42 and ATR-72 turboprop aircraft, as well as a Boeing 737-300. It also has several helicopters in its fleet, including Bell 206s and Eurocopter EC-135s. The airline is based at Roman Tmetuchl International Airport in Koror, Palau.

Belau Air has had a long and colorful history. In its early years, it operated a small fleet of aircraft, including a Douglas DC-3 and a single-engine Piper Aztec. From 1965 to 1972, the airline operated a DC-3 and two Beechcraft Model 18s. In the mid-1970s, Belau Air began operating more modern aircraft, including a Boeing 737-200, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and a De Havilland Canada Dash 8.

In 1979, the airline suffered its first major incident when one of its Dash 8 aircraft crashed near Angaur Island, killing all ten people onboard. In the aftermath of the crash, Belau Air suspended operations and ceased operations for over a year while an investigation was conducted.

In the late 1980s, Belau Air began to modernize its fleet and increase its route network, beginning with the acquisition of an ATR-42 in 1989. In the early 1990s, the airline purchased a Boeing 737-300 and a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400. In 1995, Belau Air launched its first international flight, from Koror to Taipei.

In the 2000s, Belau Air continued to expand its network and modernize its fleet. In 2002, the airline launched its first inter-island flights, connecting Palau’s main island with the outer islands. That same year, Belau Air was featured on the Discovery Channel’s documentary series, “Airport.” In 2006, the airline was one of the first airlines in the world to order the new ATR-72 turboprop aircraft.

In 2012, Belau Air launched its second international route, from Koror to Manila. The airline has also expanded its presence in the region, connecting Palau with other destinations in the Pacific, such as Guam, Saipan, and Yap.

Over the years, Belau Air has grown from a small regional airline to a major player in the Pacific aviation market. It has established itself as a reliable and affordable provider of air transportation services to the people of Palau and the surrounding region. This is evidenced by the fact that Belau Air is the only airline to have won the prestigious “Airline of the Year” award six times.