Textron Aviation has shipped the first of 10 Cessna Grand Caravan EXs to Botswanan charter and utility operator Mack Air. The single-engined turboprop is being ferry flown from the Caravan production plant in Independence, Kansas and should arrive at Mack Air's base in the northern town of Maun by the middle of December.
The aircraft is part of an order, placed in the third quarter of 2017, from Mauritian aircraft leasing company Tuareg Aviation. The remaining EXs are set to arrive in Maun by mid-2018 and will replace Mack Air’s ageing piston-powered fleet.
Mack Air will use the high-wing all-metal type to provide charter, cargo and logistics services between a network of independently owned bush safari lodges in the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Plains regions of Botswana.
Mack Air currently operates a fleet of 22 propeller-driven aircraft including 10 single-engined turboprops – nine earlier iterations of the Grand Caravan and a single Quest Kodiak 100 – along with 12 piston-singles: eight GippsAero GA8 Airvans and a pair each of Cessna 206 Stationairs and 210 Centurions.
The Caravans will be supported by Textron Aviation’s South African partner Absolute Aviation from a new maintenance base in Maun. This facility will complement Absolute’s aircraft parts business, established in the town earlier in 2017.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records a global fleet of more than 2,200 Caravans. In the first nine months of 2017 Textron delivered 55 units – eight 208s and 47 EXs.