Home Africa Which Countries Still Have Airlines Flying Propliners?

Which Countries Still Have Airlines Flying Propliners?

by Matt Falcus
aeroprints.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Even as recently as the 1990s it was still quite common to see older propliner aircraft flying in most parts of the world.

While modern jets and turboprops have long since replaced propliners in the fleets of major airlines, there are thankfully still a few flying regularly even today, and not just as part of heritage operations.

Here are some countries that still have airlines flying propliners:


Chatham Islands

Pa34, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

This collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean are a part of New Zealand. They have their own local airline, known as Air Chathams, which has been flying an eclectic range of aircraft throughout its existence. Most notably are the only regularly passenger Convair 580s, as well as a Douglas DC-3 used for pleasure flights.

You can often fly the Convair between New Zealand and the Chatham Islands, but for how much longer we’re not sure.




Still a bastion of propliners, Canada’s remote and rugged north is the perfect playground for old piston airliners to be used. Their durability and the harsh conditions marry perfectly, and you’ll find numerous airlines still making use of the types.

Most famous is Buffalo Airways, based at Yellowknife, Hay River and Red Deer. Although they don’t fly passenger services any more, their fleet of Curtiss C-46, Douglas DC-3s (as well as Lockheed Electras) are well used and famous among the aviation community.

Other airlines like Nolinor also use Convair 580s in charter and cargo services (though admittedly this is a turbo-powered propliner!).


South Africa

DC-4 at AAD 2018

There are propliner operators across Africa, flying cargo and sightseeing trips with types like the Douglas DC-3.

In South Africa, heritage operator Skyclass Aviation still flies the DC-3 and DC-4 on safari and sightseeing trips.



HK-1149 Douglas DC-3 SADELCA

The difficult jungle terrain of southern Colombia was perfectly matched to old propliners like the DC-3, which had a long life of serving remote communities out of bases like Villavicencio. Sadly the number of operators and aircraft has dwindled in recent years, but you can still see them flying with local carriers (not that we recommend travelling to this region).

Thankfully you can also often see piston types at Colombia’s main hubs, like Bogota and Medellin.


Alaska, USA


The state of Alaska, like northern Canada, is a remote wilderness where tiny communities rely on aircraft to deliver supplies, care, workers and passengers. At the state’s two main airports, in Anchorage and Fairbanks, a few local carriers exist to serve these needs, with aircraft ranging from small Cessnas up to large airliners.

Airlines like Everts Air Cargo fly the Douglas DC-6 and Curtiss C-46 here, and there are other carriers still operating the DC-3 around Alaska. A spotting trip to either of these main airports is like going back in time – apart from the presence of modern Boeing and Airbus types in the mix!



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1 comment

MERVYN CROWE April 2, 2021 - 6:53 am

Here in Australia, we have many smaller airlines flying the DASH 8 100/200/300/400; Metroliners; Brasilias, and we have REX who operate 60 SAAB 340s, the biggest SAAB 340 fleet in the world. VIRGIN did operate 16 ATR 72s , but not any more, so a few of those operating for smaller operators. We still have four Fokker 50 turboprops operated by ALLIANCE AIRLINES, out of Adelaide, so plenty of propeller driven aircraft here, and we even have some J31 Jetstreams! Propliner heaven….nearly.


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