Have you ever heard of Saint Pierre and Miquelon? It’s located only 25 kms from Newfoundland in Canada but 4300 kms from Paris yet it’s as France as mainland France. Its small population of 6000 is as French as those in Europe. The same French is spoken as in Normandy or Brittany and not like in Quebec. Most houses, about half of the cars and the climate make you think you’re in Canada but you’re not. It’s a unique place that very few people have ever heard of.
There are not many ways to get to Saint Pierre and Miquelon. You can take the ferry from Fortune, Newfoundland in Canada – crossing time is only 90 minutes but flying is more fun. Air Saint-Pierre is a small airline with only three aircrafts: two ATR42s and one C406. Direct flights include Halifax three times a week, St John’s twice a week, Montreal once or twice a week, Magdalen Island twice a week only in summer, and, using a chartered plane, Paris once a week in summer. The two islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are connected by about 22 flights a week by a small C406 (see my next flight report).
Flying to Saint Pierre is not cheap. The price of a one-way flight from Halifax is 261.72 € for a distance of 600 km and a flight time of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Halifax airport is quite far from downtown. It takes at least 30 minutes by Uber on the highway.
The airport is divided into three parts: Domestic flights, US flights and International flights.
Halifax airport has many flights every day. Most of them are domestic flights.
The airport’ website puts direct destinations into four categories (Canada, Sun destinations, US and Europe) and Saint Pierre falls into the last one – it’s quite odd.
There were two check-in desks for Air Saint-Pierre.
There was only one passenger in front of me. The agent immediately asked me: français ou anglais ? Check-in didn’t take more than a few minutes. I usually prefer aisle seats but I this time asked for a window seat on the left side.
I had to sign a document that I didn’t have covid – not for the airline but for the Canadian authorities.
Halifax is most likely the only airport in the world where you can buy lobster – alive or dead.
Security was quick. All staff were friendly and greeted passengers by saying “Hello bonjour”.
It’s not easy to get a good meal at most airports but I had an excellent salmon bowl here:
Boarding was at the end of the terminal at the commuter aircraft gate.
Boarding started shortly after 12 o’clock.
We walked to this beautiful ATR42-600, registration number F-ORLB, built in 2020.
“You can remove your mask, it’s a French airplane”, said (in French) the flight attendant to the boarding passengers.
The plane is obviously in very good condition. There are 11 rows in a 2+2 configuration plus a 12th row with only two seats on the left side so there are a total of 46 seats.
Legroom is excellent for an ATR.
The view towards the front of the cabin.
Individual air vents.
The safety instructions.
The load was about 50% with 27 passengers.
An expected flight time of 1 hour and 15 minutes and a cruising altitude of 21,000 feet was announced.
Push-back was at 12.24 and take-off at 12.30 from runway 23 for a scheduled departure time of 13.00. It’s not very common that a plane leaves 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
The view during taxi:
The airport seen from the plane after take-off.
Onboard service includes water, coffee, apple juice and orange juice.
The Strait of Canso that separates the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island.
Sydney is somewhere on this photo. Yes, Sydney, Nova Scotia is the place where passengers bound for Sydney, Australia sometimes end up when booking the wrong flights.
Saint Pierre Airport and Saint Pierre town.
Turning to base leg.
We landed at Saint Pierre on runway 08 at 14.45 for a scheduled arrival time of 15.15.
Leaving the runway.
You can spot one third of Air Saint-Pierre’s fleet on this photo.
You can spot the remaining last one third of Air Saint-Pierre’s fleet here.
The cabin after most passengers disembarked.
This C406 is for tomorrow.
Passport control was quick. The airport is small and easy-to-use.
None of the three taxis on the island were waiting at the airport but the employee of the tourist office called one for me.
As mentioned above Saint Pierre and Miquelon is part of France. This is the Hôtel du Territoire – not a hotel but the offices of the islands’ administration.
Fishing was the main activity until it collapsed in 1992.
Downtown Saint Pierre on a sunny afternoon.
The Musée Héritage is excellent. The bottles date from around 1919 when Saint Pierre was a hub for bootlegging during Prohibition.
Guns and a lighthouse.
Air Saint Pierre
Halifax - YHZ
Saint-Pierre - FSP
I loved this flight.
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Hi, thanks a lot for this (first?) report on Air Saint-Pierre new ATR.
This is quite a unique airline, and so is the island!
I wasn't aware they kept the ATR42-500, I wonder if it flies often.
Hi, thank you for your comment. Good question, I don't know how often the previou ATR42 flies.
Here's the answer about the other plane:
thank you so much for this report, it is not a destination we often see on FR!
Hi and thank you for your comment. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a very interesting destination. i was told that the islands have never had as many visitors as this summer.
Wow, now this is exotic! It's been a veeeery long time since I've seen a report on Air Saint Pierre and the first time I'm seeing one on the newer 600! The PJ livery is beautiful and the cabin looks really nice. I am surprised there was no snack given on this flight, like they serve on the Montreal flights, though I guess those are twice as long.
I've always wanted to visit St. Pierre & Miquelon, especially when I lived on the East Coast, but as you mention, PJ's prices are quite prohibitive, especially from Montreal, which would be the more practical gateway from the US. Maybe some day!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi KévinDC and thank you for your comment. Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon is a very interesting place for sure. The flight is very different from most other flights of similar distance in North America with a nice ATR42-600 with a beautiful livery. No meal service for such a short flight but the cabin crew was very friendly.
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