PARIS: GECI notches up Skylander orders

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GECI International has notched up 30 orders at the show for its Skylander SK-105 twin-engine turboprop from a trio of southeast Asian carriers, while its smaller Reims F406 stablemate has been given a boost following the acquisition of three of the types from the Mali government for special missions.

Indonesian airline PT Sky Aviation has placed an order for 10 Skylanders - made by GECI subsidiary Sky Aircraft - with an option for 10 more. Kan Air of Thailand has acquired two of the 19-seat types plus three options, while Laos scheduled and charter carrier Phongsavanh Airlines has snapped up five aircraft - including three options.

"The Skylander is perfectly suited for operations within southeast Asia where short, rough air strips are common," said Serge Bitboul, GECI chief executive. Sky Aircraft cut the metal for the first Skylander last year at its base in Chambley-Bussières in the Lorraine region of France after making major design changes to increase the economic speed, improve take-off and landing performance, and offer greater range with maximum payload.

Powered by two 1,100shp (820kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65B turboprops driving five-blade Hartzell propellers, the high-wing, unpressurised Skylander can seat up to 19 passengers and carry up to 2t of freight. Envisaged uses span commuter, passenger/cargo combi, freight, paratroop transport and aerial ambulance operations. GECI is also planning a VIP and charter variant, which is expected to account for up to 10% of Skylander sales.

Meanwhile. Gama Support Services has signed a memorandum of understanding with GECI to become its approved maintenance and repair centre for the F406 in the UK.