Air Seychelles is to be a launch customer for Viking Air’s new derivative of the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, dubbed the Series 400.

The decision means that production of the highly successful utility-passenger turboprop, which first flew in 1965, will be resumed after a break of 18 years. Air Seychelles has ordered two aircraft with a third on option.

air seychelles

Delivery of the new aircraft is set for early 2009. More than 800 of the original 19-seat Series 300 version were built. The type has a reputation for reliability and operational flexibility, and in 2001 was chosen as the only aircraft capable of performing the South Pole evacuation flight of a critical patient under extreme -60°C conditions.

Viking Air, a Canadian aircraft parts and maintenance company, already maintains de Havilland Canada aircraft and in 2005 it bought all of the de Havilland designs and certificates from Bombardier Aircraft, with the exception of the Dash 8’s. 

Viking says the new version will generally follow the same design as the -300 variant but will feature a glass cockpit, multi-function displays and more powerful and efficient Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines. The aircraft will also use of composites for some secondary structures such as doors, nose sections and fairings.