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Monday, September 29, 2008

New Twin Otter Set to Fly

Viking Air plans the first flight of the first new Twin Otter in 20 years this week with more than 40 customers awaiting its final development, according to CanWest News Service. All have signed contracts with deposits for the $4 million, 19-seat aircraft that is a resurrection of one of the aircraft that helped build the post-deregulation regional airline industry. The flight will take off from Victoria, British Columbia, home to Viking, which bought the aircraft’s original plans from de Havilland and started anew. In command will be Steve Stackhouse of the Twin Otter 400 when it takes to the air sometime this week.
Viking is owned by Westerkirk Capital which now holds exclusive rights to the Twin Otter and other de Havilland aircraft. Today, the worldwide fleet includes 600 of the original 800 sold by de Havilland, mostly some of the most hostile aviation environments for which the aircraft is known.
Viking projects production of seven planes next year and the company is sold out until 2012 with launch customer Zimex Aviation taking the first aircraft, destined for oil field work in Angola, next April. Other customers include Air Maldivian Airways with five on order to add to its 18-aircraft Twin Otter fleet. United Arab Emirates has one on order for its air force.
Viking is anticipating gross sales of $30 million this year from its work repairing and overhauling de Havilland aircraft. Gross sales will double to $60 million next year, according to the company with $100 million in 2010.
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