History : Kendell
KD Photo Album
by Nigel Daw
Don Kendell, the founder of Kendell Airlines, learnt to fly at age 19 in a Tiger Moth at the Wagga Flying School.
He gained experience as a joyride pilot, then a charter pilot, looked for work as a pilot in Alice Springs, failed to find it, and signed on as a bulldozer driver. He saved enough to pay for a boat trip to England, where he obtained a job with British European Airways (BEA) in 1955, aged 25.

In 1959, now married with a son, Don returned to Australia. It was to be six years before he set up his own charter operation at Wagga Wagga, which he was to run so differently from the way BEA worked. In the meantime he farmed, but found life too quiet.

The charter operation flourished, assisted by some good years on the land. Rural agents were flown all over S.A. and Queensland to buy stock. In 1966, Premiair Aviation (a partnership with his wife) was formed and a year later Premiair Aviation Pty Ltd was registered.

The Spirits of Ansett Kendell Airlines operated its first regular passenger operation on 18 October 1971 when the Piper PA31/310 VH-DAP flew Wagga Wagga to Melbourne direct. Ansett Airlines of Australia had vacated the route in July, in favour of Kendell. In the first week 36 passengers were carried. On 3 July 1972, Kendell extended its Melbourne to Wagga Wagga flights to West Wyalong & Sydney (Flights to the latter city were ceased on 17
March 1973). On 19 March 1973, Kendell commenced Wagga Wagga to Canberra with Griffith added on 20 August 1973. This route was sold effective 16 March 1981. Also on 19 March 1973 a West Wyalong to Cowra service was commenced to connect with the East-West Sydney to Cowra flights. However, this service was short lived as it ceased on 31 July 1973.

In 1979, the airline moved into turbo-prop. operations when the first Swearingen Metro II was added to the fleet. Passenger growth and additional routes taken over from Ansett saw the delivery of the first SAAB 340A in February 1985.

Until 1981, Don Kendell combined his many duties as head of the airline with regular trips as a pilot. He stopped commercial flying that year because of age and the difficulty of having so many other things to attend to right up until he stepped on board an aircraft. During March 1984, Kendell Airlines (Australia) Pty Ltd was registered in Victoria.

Kendell made its first foray into South Australia on 22 May 1983 when it commenced Melbourne to Mount Gambier route replacing the Ansett Fokker F.27.

In the mid-1980s, when Ansett (via News Ltd/TNT) bought 35% of Kendell Airlines, Don Kendell and his wife resisted overtures to sell the remainder. However, in June 1990, when doom clouds laden with deregulation fears massed over the industry, the rest of the Company was sold, but Don Kendell continued to sit on the board.

Kendell Airlines made its first scheduled flight into Adelaide on 17 November 1985 when the Adelaide to Mount Gambier route was taken over from Airlines of S.A. (A.S.A.)

On 18 February 1986 the General Manager of A.S.A., Mick Connelly announced the impending closure of the airline on 30 June 1986 and that all routes would be handed over to Kendell. This was as the result of A.S.A.'s loss of the lucrative Santos Moomba contract during 1985 and competition from smaller, regional airlines, which operated a spread of services with more efficient and cheaper to operate aircraft. Due to the size of A.S.A's Fokker F27s they were rapidly becoming an unsuitable aircraft for the route structure on which they were operating.

Takeover of routes occurred on:

10 March 1986 Adelaide to Ceduna and Streaky Bay, Adelaide to Broken Hill.
Streaky Bay ceased on 2 August 1991.

28 June 1986 Adelaide to Port Lincoln, Adelaide to Whyalla.

23 August 1986 Adelaide to Woomera, Olympic Dam and Coober Pedy – ceased Woomera 10 February 1997.

2 May 1987 Adelaide to Yulara via Coober Pedy – ceased Yulara 28 June 1997.

1 October 1990 Adelaide to Kingscote.

During February 1992, Kendell Airlines was awarded the Air Transport World magazine's worldwide 'Regional Airline of the Year' award.

30 October 2000 Adelaide to Canberra – ceased 13 September 2001

Kendell ceased operations in S.A. on 13 September 2001 as the Ansett Administrators closed the airline the next day, but re-commenced operations on 27 September 2001. The Ansett subsidiary was later sold to Australiawide Airlines Ltd trading as 'Regional Express'. Kendell Airlines ceased operations on the 31 July 2002 and the following day the 'Kendell' name passed into history. On 1 August Australiawide Airlines Ltd was issued with its 'Air Operators Certificate' and, on 6 August, the new airline 'Regional Express' was launched. (Note: Another source states that Kendell & Hazelton were officially sold 1 August and began operating as Regional Express on 5 August. This will be clarified).

Swearingen Merlin IV/Metro II/Metro 23
VH-BIF SW SA226TC C/N TC-270 REG'D 250286 WFS 93 SOR 121093
VH-BIS SW SA226TC C/N TC-284 REG'D 070981 WFS 140794 SOLD 120894
VH-KAN SW SA227DC C/N DC-838B REG'D 220893 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 031001.'The First Settlement in South Australia – Kingscote Kangaroo Island'.
VH-KDJ SW SA227DC C/N DC-797B REG'D 070892 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 280901. 'City of Portland'
VH-KDO SW SA227DC C/N DC-837B REG'D 170893 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 031001. 'Spirit of Coober Pedy'
VH-KDQ SW SA226TC C/N TC-326 REG'D 300580 WFS 240895 SOLD 181095
'Progress of Albury-Wodonga'
VH-KDR SW SA226TC C/N TC-289 REG'D 240579 WFS 260995 SOLD 301195
VH-KDT SW SA227DC C/N DC-800B REG'D 090992 I/S 110992 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 111001. 'Spirit of Ceduna'
VH-KED SW SA227DC C/N DC-845B REG'D 100394 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 231001. Leased to Air North 311001 to 310102. 'Spirit of King Island'.
VH-KEU SW SA227DC C/N DC-846B REG'D 100394 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 270901. 'Sunraysia Chaffey Trail'
VH-KEX SW SA227DC C/N DC-872B REG'D 030395 WFS 140901
VH-SWP SW SA226T C/N AT-033 LSD 0686 REG'D 100986 WFS 150993
SOLD 0993.
VH-WGV SW SA226TC C/N TC-287 REG'D 010586 WFS 0983 SOLD 0594
VH-WGX SW SA226TC C/N TC-312 REG'D 300483 WFS 280494 SOLD 0694
VH-WGY SW SA226TC C/N TC-256 REG'D 170686 WFS 220794 SOLD 120894
Seating Capacity – Metro II 16 seats, Metro III 19 seats
VH-EKD SAAB 340A C/N 155 REG'D 090889 I/S 220889 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 111001.'City of Wagga Wagga'
VH-EKG SAAB 340B C/N367 REG'D 290595 WFS 140901 Re-entered service 081001.
VH-EKH SAAB 340B C/N 369 REG'D 290695 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 081001.
VH-EKT SAAB 340A C/N 085 REG'D 080390 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 181001. 'City of Burnie'
VH-KDB SAAB 340A C/N 008 REG'D 261191 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 081001.
VH-KDI SAAB 340A C/N 131 REG'D 271088 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 141201. 'City of Whyalla'
VH-KDK SAAB 340A C/N 016 REG'D 160285 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 031001 'City of Mount Gambier'
VH-KDP SAAB 340A C/N 052 REG'D 300486 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 031001. 'City of Broken Hill'
VH-KEQ SAAB 340A C/N 011 REG'D 080197 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 041001.
VH-LPI SAAB 340A C/N 151 LEASED 0797, REG'D 090200 SOR 250501
'Spirit of Devonport'.
Seating Capacity – 34 seats
VH-KJF CL600/2B19 C/N 7336 REG'D 130899 WFS 140901
'City of Launceston'. SOR 170702 TO C-FZTU
VH-KJG CL600/2B19 C/N 7357 REG'D 031299 WFS 140901
'City of Melbourne'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZTZ
VH-KJJ CL600/2B19 C/N 7361 REG'D 081299 WFS 140901
'City of Hobart'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZTW
VH-KJN CL600/2B19 C/N 7367 REG'D 121000 WFS 140901
'City of Canberra'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZTY
VH-KJQ CL600/2B19 C/N 7372 REG'D 250200 WFS 140901
'City of Brisbane'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZTT
VH-KJS CL600/2B19 C/N 7401 REG'D 020600 WFS 140901
'City of Rockhampton'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZTH
VH-KJU CL600/2B19 C/N 7405 REG'D 160600 WFS 140901
'City of Adelaide'. SOR 250702 TO C-FZSZ
VH-KJV CL600/2B19 C/N 7422 REG'D 080900 WFS 140901
'City of Sydney'. SOR 050702 TO C-FZSY
VH-KJX CL600/2B19 C/N 7471 REG'D 251001 WFS 140901
'City of Mackay'. SOR 200802 TO C-FSXX
VH-KJY CL600/2B19 C/N 7481 REG'D 280201 WFS 140901
'Sunshine Coast'. SOR 200802 TO C-FZUK
VH-KXJ CL600/2B19 C/N 7508 REG'D 240501 WFS 140901
SOR 110402 TO G-ELNX
Seating Capacity – 50 seats
The only route operated by the CRJs into S.A. was Canberra/Adelaide/Canberra

AERO COMMANDER 500S VH-KAC A/C500S C/N 3185 REG'D 091078 SOLD 160381
VH-CLW DH114/2D/A1 C/N 14108 REG'D 160277 SOLD 0581
VH-KAM DH114/2D/A1 C/N 14123 REG'D 161275 SOLD 101280
VH-CLU PA31/310 C/N 588 REG'D 72 SOLD 030778
VH-DAP PA31/310 C/N 3644 REG'D 1071 SOLD 290578
VH-BPL SW226TC C/N TC-272 LEASED 1979-1981
VH-EEF SW SA226TC C/N TC-331E REG'D 010883 WFS 85
VH-CFO SA226AT C/N AT-33 LEASED 0283 – 0284 (Later VH-SWP
VH-EKK SAAB 340B C/N 223 REG'D110297 WFS 140901
VH-EKN SAAB 340B C/N 372 REG'D 060995 WFS 140901
VH-EKX SAAB 340B C/N 257 REG'D 190696 WFS 140901
Re-entered service 081001.
VH-KDQ (2) SAAB 340B C/N 325 REG'D 130396 WFS 140901
VH-KDR (2) SAAB 340B C/N 229 REG'D 170796 WFS 140901
VH-KDV SAAB 340B C/N 322 REG'D 140296 WFS 140901
NOTE: Both KDQ (2) & KDV carried 'Capital Shuttle' titles during service.
C/N = Constructor's Number
I/S = In service
NTU = Not taken up
REG'D = Registered to a Kendell company
SOR = Struck off Australian Civil Register
WFS = Withdrawn from service
(South Australian operations)
Adelaide to Ayers Rock
Ayers Rock to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Via Flight Day Dep Arr Via
KD474 Sa 0915 1305 CP KD475 Sa 1330 1720 CP
Coober Pedy to Ayers Rock Ayers Rock to Coober Pedy
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD474 Sa 1135 1305 KD475 Sa 1330 1500
Adelaide to Broken Hill Broken Hill to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD360 Daily x Sa Su 0645 0755 KD361 Daily x Sa Su 0810 0925
KD366 Sa 1000 1110 KD367 Sa 1125 1240
KD362 We Th Fr 1435 1545 KD363 We Th Fr 1600 1715
KD364 Daily x Sa 1810 1920 KD365 Daily x Sa 1935 2000
Adelaide to Ceduna
Ceduna to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD368 Mo Tu We Th 0945 1115 KD369 Mo Tu We Th 1130 1255
KD372 Su 1310 1445 KD373 Su 1500 1625
KD370 Tu Fr 1720 1855 KD371 Tu Fr 1910 2035
Adelaide to Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Via Fight Day Dep Arr Via
KD472 Fr 0915 1145 OD KD473 Fr 1215 1440 OD
KD474 Sa 0915 1115   KD479 Daily x Fr Sa 1430 1655 OD
KD478 Daily x Fr Sa 1140 1410 OD KD475 Sa 1520 1720  
Adelaide to Kingscote
Kingscote to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD301 Mo Fr 0720 0755 KD302 Mo Fr 0810 0840
KD303 Daily x Mo 0925 1000 KD304 Daily x Mo 1015 1045
KD305 Mo 0950 1025 KD306 Mo 1040 1110
KD309 Daily 1730 1805 KD310 Daily 1820 1850
Adelaide to Mount Gambier
Mount Gambier to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD380 Daily x Sa Su 0700 0805 KD381 Daily x Sa Su 0820 0930
KD382 Daily x Fr Su 0855 1000 KD383 Daily x Fr Su 1015 1125
KD386 Fr 1240 1345 KD387 Fr 1400 1510
KD388 Daily x Mo Sa 1450 1555 KD389 Daily x Mo Sa 1630 1740
KD392 Mo 1740 1845 KD393 Mo 1900 2010
KD394 Tu We Th Fr 1850 1955 KD395 Tu We Th Fr 2010 2120
Adelaide to Olympic Dam
Olympic Dam to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Via Fight Day Dep Arr Via
KD470 Mo Tu We Th 0630 0800   KD471 Mo Tu We Th 0815 1000  
KD472 Fr 0915 1045   KD473 Fr 1315 1440  
KD478 Daily x Fr Sa 1140 1310   KD479 Daily x Fr Sa 1530 1655  
KD480 Fr 1320 1510 WR KD481 Fr 1530 1655  
KD482 We Th Fr 1745 1915   KD483 We Th Fr 1930 2055  
Olympic Dam to Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy to Olympic Dam
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD472 Fr 1100 1145 KD473 Fr 1215 1300


Daily x Fr Sa 1325 1415 KD479 Daily x Fr Sa 1430 1515
Adelaide to Port Lincoln
Port Lincoln to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD430 Daily 0710 0800 KD431 Daily 0815 0900


Mo 0925 1015 KD435 Mo 1030 1115
KD436 Tu We Th Fr 1130 1220 KD437 Tu We Th Fr 1235 1320
KD438 Sa 1200 1250 KD439 Sa 1305 1350
KD442 Daily x Sa 1525 1615 KD443 Daily x Sa 1630 1715
KD444 Daily 1800 1850 KD445 Daily 1905 1950
Adelaide to Whyalla
Whyalla to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Flight Day Dep Arr
KD450 Daily x Su 0650 0735 KD451 Daily x Su 0750 0835


Daily x Fr Sa 0915 1005 KD455 Daily x Fr Sa 1020 1105
KD456 Fr 1045 1130 KD457 Fr 1145 1230
KD458 Daily x Su 1445 1530 KD459 Daily x Su 1545 1630
KD460 Daily x Mo Sa 1645 1730 KD461 Daily x Mo Sa 1745 1830
KD462 Daily x Sa 1915 2000 KD463 Daily x Sa 2015 2100
Adelaide to Woomera
Woomera to Adelaide
Flight Day Dep Arr Via Flight Day Dep Arr Via
KD470 Mo to Th 0630 0840 OD KD471 Mo to Th 0850 1000  
KD480 Fr 1320 1435   KD481 Fr 1445 1655 OD
Woomera to Olympic Dam
Olympic Dam to Woomera
Flight Day Dep Flight Flight Day Dep Arr
KD480 Fr 1445 1510 KD471 Mo to Th 0815 0840
CP = Coober Pedy, OD = Olympic Dam, WR = Woomera

Background on Towns and Cities served by Kendell from Adelaide
Adelaide South Australian capital, located on St Vincent Gulf.
Ayers Rock Tourism icon located in south west of Northern Territory.
Broken Hill Mining town located in far west of NSW.
Canberra Capital city of Australia located in Australian Capital Territory.
Ceduna Fishing and tourism town located in the far west of S.A.
Coober Pedy Opal-mining town located in far north of S.A.
Kingscote Situated on Kangaroo Island, which is known for farming and tourism, and is located in Southern Ocean off the coast of SA
Mount Gambier Farming, industrial and tourism town located in the south of S.A.
Olympic Dam Mining town located in far north of S.A.
Port Lincoln Fishing and tourism town located at southern end of Eyre Peninsula.
Streaky Bay Fishing and tourism town located in the far west of S.A
Whyalla Industrial city located on Spencers Gulf.
Woomera Rocket and weapon testing range located in far north of S.A.
Editor's Note:

This article was compiled from the author's own notes, newspaper articles, 'Country Connection (the Kendell In-flight Magazine), and information from Roger McDonald and Fred Niven. Additional information would be most welcome.

A fully detailed article on Kendell operations in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania deserves to be written but this Editor does not have the research material.

Nigel Daw
December 2002 KD

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