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PARIS: Viking raids China for new sales

Canada’s Viking Air has secured a commitment from Beijing, China-based Reignwood Aviation for 50 examples of the Series 400 Twin Otter turboprop.

The deal, which was unveiled at Paris today, comes on the back of recent Chinese approval for the Pratt & Whitney PT6-powered type.

Described as a “strategic partnership” the Reignwood deal grants the firm “exclusive representation rights” for the Twin Otter in China.

Deliveries of the turboprops are scheduled to begin in late 2015, says Viking Air, which manufactures the modernised version of the old de Havilland Canada DHC-6 in British Columbia, Canada. The initial two examples will be configured as a regional commuter aircraft and a floatplane.

Viking president and chief executive David Curtis says: “Reignwood’s world-class reputation and depth of experience in the aviation sector will give the Series 400 Twin Otter immediate traction in the Chinese market.”

Reignwood will also set up a completion centre for the Twin Otter in-country.

Additionally, Viking is working on potential future upgrades of the aircraft, says Evan McCorry, vice-president of sales and marketing at Viking.

“There’s opportunities to do some different things for the airplane that would allow us to continue [production] for even longer with the existing airplane.

“We are working on a couple of things that would be very interesting for the market.”

McCorry declines to give specific details, but these are likely to involve enhancements to the airframe and avionics.

However, a change of engines is not under consideration, says McCorry. “There’s a strong belief among our existing operator group that there’s some characteristics that should never be changed,” he says, with the PT6 powerplant falling into that category.

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