Viking Air has signed an agreement to sell six Twin Otter aircraft to a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, a deal that’s worth more than $40 million and takes the Victoria-based plane manufacturer into its 19th country.
MASwings, a regional airline in the southeast Asian country, will start taking delivery of the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 planes later this year and through 2014, Viking Air said in a statement.
The value of the deal, which will include flight and maintenance training as well as spares, was not disclosed. However, Viking says the value of its planes usually starts at about $6.5 million and costs go higher as options are added.
MASwings will become the first Malaysian-based operator of the new Twin Otter and will use the planes for regional commuter operations based in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The sale expands Viking’s global customer list to 19 countries. The most recent deliveries include three Twin Otters to the U.S. Army, the Vietnamese navy and the second of four aircraft to Airfast Indonesia.
A Viking spokeswoman said Wednesday that planes being made at the company’s plant at Victoria International Airport and Calgary are for private operators in the U.S. and Australia. Viking employs 415 in Victoria, where parts are made, and 133 in Calgary, where final assembly takes place.
The latest aircraft will be added to MASwings’ existing fleet of legacy Twin Otter, which have a 25-year track record for reliability and durability in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, the two Malaysian states in Borneo.
The Twin Otters will be configured with a Honeywell Primus Apex digital avionics suite with a GPS backed navigation system. With this aircraft purchase, MASwings will be the launch airline for Latitude Technologies SkyNode and IONode, an Iridium satellite communication package with WiFi-enabled flight data acquisition, recording and reporting aircraft trend monitoring system.
Mohd Nawawi Hj Awang, CEO of MASwings, said in a statement: “As a long-time legacy aircraft operator, the Viking Series 400 won us over because of its exceptional performance, great operating economics, and the additional safety features offered by the integrated digital avionics suite. With the new satellite based navigational facilities fitted onboard, the operational and safety level will be greatly enhanced.”
Robert Mauracher, Viking vice-president business development, said landing another country is a bonus. “As our first flag carrier, Malaysia Airlines has once again confirmed the Series 400 Twin Otter as the best choice for utility regional transport in support of remote communities.”
The new Twin Otter is operating in 14 countries. Viking’s backlog of orders exceed $400 million.
The company said its plane is now confirmed as the world’s best-selling “next-generation, 19-passenger aircraft.”
Viking provides support for the worldwide fleet of de Havilland legacy aircraft (the DHC-1 through DHC-7) and forms part of Westerkirk Capital Inc., a Canadian private investment firm with substantial holdings in the hospitality, aviation and real estate sectors.
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