Propair, a company founded in 1954 and operating out of facilities at the Rouyn-Noranda and Montréal-Trudeau airports, offers a variety of services, including charter flights, aeromedical evacuations, business shuttles and aircraft maintenance. With a fleet of 12 turboprop aircraft with pressurized cabins, Propair is the oldest company in its sector and currently ranked among Québec’s top charter flight operators. Propair is first and foremost a group of 100 or so employees, among them 35 pilots, who are dedicated to providing a high degree of service excellence on a daily basis and thereby ensuring the organization’s reputation as a leader among Québec’s air transport companies.
In 1954, Émilien Pronovost purchased a bush aviation company, La Sarre Air Service, which was headquartered in Québec’s Far North and operated in a territory that enjoyed a wealth of natural resources but few if any roads. A true pioneer of regional air transport, Émilien Pronovost grew his company by carrying workers, scientists and various prospectors attracted to the region. Over time, he was able to strengthen the company’s position due to an influx of passengers destined for hunting and fishing camps. Successively supported by his daughters Lise and Claude, then his sons Jean and Louis, Émilien Pronovost played a key role in the development of Québec’s largest construction site at the time, the James Bay Hydroelectric Project. After another ten years of growth, Jean and Louis purchased the company in 1981.
They also bought the company Air Fecteau, and amalgamated the two businesses to create Propair. With a fleet of around 40 aircraft, Propair was the largest bush aviation company in Eastern Canada, serving nearly the entire Québec territory. Once the region’s major projects were completed, and with the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and its impact on hunting and fishing jaunts, Propair found itself with a larger fleet than needed to meet the demands of its traditional market. In addition, new roads had been built over time, greatly facilitating ground access to the territory. In order to adjust to this new reality, Propair disposed of its bush aviation assets and acquired aircraft designed for business charters, namely turboprop aircraft with pressurized cabins, better adapted to the fast-growing market it had chosen to target.