In late October Air Seychelles announced its purchase of three 19-seat Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400s as part of a plan to renew its domestic fleet for services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as other islands in the archipelago, including Bird, Denis and Frégate. The airline expects to take all three turboprops by mid-2015 but holds an option for earlier delivery if aircraft become available. It now operates one Viking Twin Otter Series 400 and three aging de Havilland Canada-built Series 300s, all of which it plans to replace with the newly ordered airplanes.
De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
Viking Air delivered the first Viking Twin Otter Series 400 equipped with a custom executive interior from Wipaire of South Saint Paul, Minn., to an undisclosed customer. Wipaire is an authorized Viking service center that offers maintenance, repair, VIP cabin completions and painting services. The Wipaire-outfitted aircraft features an executive club-four seating arrangement with an additional 12 standard seats. It is also equipped with Wipline 13000 amphibious floats and features an aquatic-themed custom airbrushed graphical paint scheme.
At the Paris Air Show this week, Viking Air sold four Twin Otter Series 400s to Aerostar Leasing and an another seven to existing customer Vityaz Avia of Russia. The combined deals are worth approximately $70 million.
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.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) wants to see small-aircraft commercial operators equip their fleets with lightweight data recorders, and the agency is pressing Transport Canada to work with industry to make it happen. The new TSB recommendation was part of a recently released accident report that was unable to pin down the reason a de Havilland Canada Twin Otter broke up in flight over the Yukon in March 2011.
A de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter crashed on takeoff from Sam Neua Airport (VLSN) in Laos on April 17. Five of 16 people aboard the aircraft sustained injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft failed to clear trees at the end of the airport’s 3,700-foot runway and crashed in a nearby canal, shearing off the left wing.
Malaysian Airlines has signed a deal with Canada’s Viking Air to take six new 19-seat Twin Otter Series 400s for use in scheduled service by its regional subsidiary MASwings. Viking plans to deliver all the airplanes by the end of next year.
Ikhana is offering a program for the Twin Otter that includes a package of proprietary modifications and enhancements coupled with full maintenance and current inspections. The Twin Otter X2 program uses Ikhana’s RW Martin (RWMI) DHC-6 re-life wing box and re-life fuselage supplemental type certificates as the FAA-approved engineering design basis. Installation of the package authorizes the re-life of time-expired Twin Otters to the new zero-time structural life limits of 66,000 flight hours or 132,000 flight cycles, whichever occurs first.
With a thriving business in extending the life of the venerable DHC-6 Twin Otter, Ikhana Aircraft Services (Booth No. 4827) recently announced another expansion of its production facility at French Valley Airport in Murrieta, Calif. A third hangar with more than 12,000 square feet is expected to be ready for occupancy in the first week of November this year, expanding the total footprint to 55,000 square feet.
“Building the third hangar reflects our commitment to serving our customers’ needs and will create up to twenty new jobs,” said president and CEO John Zubin.
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.
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