Not all the big order announcements at this year’s Paris Air Show came from the big OEMs, as Viking Air illustrated by announcing the two significant sales: Four Twin Otter Series 400s to Aerostar Leasing; and an additional seven to Russia’s Vityaz Avia.
Maldivian Air Taxi
Arguably nowhere on earth is the business case for seaplanes more compelling than in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives with its 1,190 islands (200 of them inhabited). The scattered nation, situated 250 miles southwest of India, has the world’s largest fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, offering high-end tourists a time-saving alternative to the boat connections between its low-lying islands spread over 35,000 square miles.
Viking Air (Stand Q93) has added a new 84,000-sq-ft facility at its Victoria, British Columbia location to support expanding operations for the Series 400 Twin Otter production and ongoing de Havilland legacy aircraft operators’ customer support. The new building was officially opened in December and will serve as Viking’s corporate headquarters and main manufacturing facility.
As testing of the new DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 proceeds, manufacturer Viking Air says it’s confident the floatplane will be ready for delivery this summer. The aircraft, which first flew in October, began water testing in November. An evaluation of the aircraft’s air data attitude and heading reference system proved flawless, according to Steve Stackhouse, Viking’s manager of flight operations.