Greek operator plans to be first in line for Viking Air's Series 400 amphibious aircraft

Plans to restart production of the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter have been boosted by Greece's AirSealines, which wants to to be launch operator of the Series 400 version offered by Viking Air.

The Athens-based operator, which also runs a thriving Twin Otter-based charter and sightseeing business, recently took delivery of a ninth aircraft since operations began two years ago. "AirSealines is growing so fast we expect it to be the launchpad for similar operations throughout Europe," says company sales manager Michael Assariotis.

"There are over 2,000 islands in Greece, of which 270 are inhabited and serviced by only 28 airports. Our aircraft are making them more accessible and easier and quicker to reach."

Assariotis predicts a potential for 70 Twin Otters domestically, to service the thriving tourist and local markets.

"We plan to be the launch customer for the Series 400 Twin Otter with an order for around 30 aircraft if Viking Air decides to restart production," says Assariotis.

British Columbia-based Viking Air says it has received overwhelming demand for this aircraft and over the next "60 to 90 days" will ask customers to firm up their orders by placing an initial refundable deposit of 5% of the aircraft's $3.2 million price tag.

"We will take the deposits to the board early next year and a final decision on whether to relaunch the programme will be made on 30 March," says Viking, which adds that it expects it will take 24 months from cutting the first metal to delivering the first aircraft.

A total of 844 turboprop Twin Otters were manufactured in DHC's Downsview, Toronto factory between 1965 and 1989, and more than 600 are in operation worldwide. The Series 400 will have more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34/35 turboprops, advanced materials such as a modern composite nose section and a revised cockpit (Flight International, 5-11 September).

Source: Flight International