The Venezuelan air force is to introduce a new type to its fixed-wing transport fleet, with its first of 10 Dornier 228s due to be delivered before the end of this year. That’s big news for Swiss-based Ruag Aviation, which is refurbishing the first two ex-commercial examples now, and then will manufacture eight aircraft in its improved 228NG standard.
News that Caracas is to acquire the twin turboprop type filtered out locally in early October, but only now has Ruag (company-sourced image below) gone public about its first deal inside Latin America. And while its equipment will be in the hands of the military, the 228′s role will be solely to provide air transport and logistics support services to civilians living in remote parts of Venezuela. Maximum seating capacity is for 19 passengers.
As detailed in our World Air Forces directory for 2014 (which included a listing for the eight new and two “pre-owned” transports), Venezuela’s air force inventory includes a dizzying mix of seven types across a 22-strong air transport fleet. These range from H-model Hercules and Y-8 airlifters to Shorts 360s, King Airs, Cessna 208 Caravans, a Metro III and even a Citation II. You can download a free copy of the directory after completing a short form here.
With the country’s previous and firebrand president Hugo Chavez having died only earlier this year, it’s too early to tell whether more Western suppliers will be signing deals with Caracas, but in the 228NG it is acquiring a robust and affordable type also capable of turning its hand to tasks such as border surveillance and maritime patrol. If you’re not familiar with the type, check out our test pilot Pete Collins’ flight test report about it, which we published in August 2012.