Air Seychelles to acquire new Twin Otter fleet

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Air Seychelles is to renew its domestic fleet with three Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otters, all Series 400 variants, which will be delivered in mid-2015.

They will replace three Series 300 versions of the type used by the airline, which also has a Series 400 airframe in its fleet.

Air Seychelles, which is part-owned by the Middle East's Etihad Airways, says the aircraft will be used for flights between Mahé and Praslin as well as other inter-island hops.

Chief executive Cramer Ball says the renewal is "testament to the success of our turnaround strategy" through which it has extended its international and domestic services.

"The aircraft will secure the future of our inter-island services, Seychelles tourism and our economy," he adds.

Viking Air resurrected production of the Twin Otter in 2007, with the enhanced Series 400, after taking over the rights to the type originally manufactured by de Havilland Canada.

Ball says the 19-seat aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines, are "ideally suited" for operating from short and rugged runways, and are resistant to the saline environment.

Seychelles transport and home affairs minister Joel Morgan says: "Replacement of the domestic fleet had long been planned by the government. However, due to previous financial constraints, this was not possible."

Etihad Airways has taken a 40% shareholding in Air Seychelles.