Otters Soar to New Heights

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The Viking Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft program has been steadily accelerating since the program launch in 2007, as the new aircraft depart from Viking’s headquarters at Victoria International Airport for delivery to customers around the world.

The first Viking Series 400 Twin Otter, manufacturer’s serial number (MSN) 845, was delivered last year to launch customer Zimex Aviation and has now been relocated from Zimex headquarters in Switzerland to Uganda, where it is being used to support the oil and gas industry. In addition to the new Series 400 aircraft, Zimex operates a fleet of 12 legacy Twin Otters used to support the oil and gas industry, humanitarian agencies, and non-governmental organizations worldwide.

The second Viking produced aircraft, MSN 846, was delivered earlier this year to Air Seychelles, which operates the aircraft as a domestic commercial carrier from the company’s base in Mahe to the outlying islands of the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The Series 400 Twin Otter has been added to Air Seychelles fleet of three legacy aircraft, and will help the company to improve service and better cater to customer needs.

{advertisement} The first float-equipped Series 400 Twin Otter, MSN 848 has also been delivered to launch customer Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA). The aircraft flew from the factory at Victoria International Airport on land gear to carry out the 16,000 kilometer ferry flight to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, before undergoing final installation of straight floats for commercial operation.

MSN 848 will join over 40 other legacy Twin Otters currently in operation in the region, and is the first float plane in the country to be outfitted with modern safety features considered “new” to the Maldives, all of which are standard equipment on the Series 400 Twin Otter. These features include traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS I), cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, new cabin interior compliant with 2010 safety standards, warning systems for terrain avoidance (Class A TAWS) and take-off configuration advisory. The aircraft will also support the automatic dependant surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) in conjunction with the multilateral system recently installed in the Maldives Air Traffic Control center.

{advertisement} MSN 848, registered in the Maldives as 8Q-TMX, is the first of three Series 400 Twin Otters to be delivered to TMA, and was put into commercial operations earlier this month.

“TMX is now the work horse of Trans Maldivian Airways,” says TMA flight operations manager Mohamed Fahud. “It has been accumulating lots of sectors and experiencing rough water conditions. I am pleased that the aircraft is performing very well and has been maintenance free.”

TMA’s second aircraft, MSN 849 has also been delivered and is being readied for service with the installation of straight floats. MSN 850, the third and final TMA aircraft on order is undergoing final certification and is expected to be ferried to the Maldives at the end of June.

The new Series 400 aircraft will be a welcome addition to TMA’s current fleet of 23 legacy Twin Otters, operating out of their own seaplane terminal at Male International Airport and used to service the many island atolls and resorts of the Maldives.

“TMA has been a long time customer of Viking’s, and were instrumental at the customer steering group to help shape and launch the Series 400 program,” says Viking president and CEO David Curtis.

Viking launched the new DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 production program in 2007, and currently has a production backlog estimated at more than $300 million through 2014. Viking provides OEM support for the worldwide fleet of de Havilland heritage line of aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7), and is part of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Canadian private investment firm with substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation and real estate sectors.