Viking Aircraft has signed a memorandum of understanding with its Russian sales representative Vityaz Avia to develop a final assembly line in the east of the country for the new generation DHC-6 Twin Otter, dubbed the Series 400.
Speaking at Farnborough - where the show newcomer was handed over to its launch customer Zimex Aviation and officially granted Transport Canada certification - Viking chief executive David Curtis said: "There is so much untapped potential for the Twin Otter in Russia. The versatility of the aircraft will give operators greater access to the country's remote regions with its ability to land on the tundra."
Viking would be instrumental in the development of the Series 400 final assembly facility. "We will establish quality maintenance and training procedures for Moscow-based Vityaz - which has two commuter variants of the twin-engined turboprop on order - helping to springboard the aircraft into the developing market," Viking said. The facility could eventually become a factory-endorsed service centre and Series 400 training site.
Viking and Vityaz are working jointly to secure Russian certification for the type as soon as possible. European and US validations are scheduled for this quarter and early next year.
Viking has secured 50 orders to date for the $4.5 million Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34-powered aircraft, which incorporate more than 200 upgrades from the original Twin Otter, last produced by then certificate holder de Havilland/Boeing Canada in 1988.
The second aircraft - which is headed for commercial operator Air Seychelles - is scheduled to fly for the first time this week. The Victoria, British Columbia-headquartered company plans to deliver about six aircraft this year, Curtis says.
Viking also announced at the show that it has secured a contract from Argentina's aeronautic administration to overhaul of the second of eight DHC-6-200 Twin Otters.