Viking Air Ltd. is the first Canadian company to benefit from a new Bilateral Aviation Technical Arrangement (BATA) signed between Canada and China in February 2015.
The company estimates the Chinese demand for its Series 400 Twin Otter aircraft at around 25 planes per year, translating into $3.5 billion in export potential over the next 20 years (based on current average sale price). Based near Victoria, B.C., Viking Air Ltd. employs about 600 people on Vancouver Island and in Calgary.
Meeting the requirements under a trade arrangement opens the doors to the Chinese market for this iconic aircraft, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first flight, as well as other export-oriented Canadian companies that produce and sell aircraft or aircraft components.
Under the arrangement, Transport Canada and the Civil Aviation Authority of China are streamlining approvals for aeronautical products and parts from each other’s countries. The goal is to minimize redundancies, reduce costs, and save time. The arrangement is expected to open new markets for export-oriented Canadian companies.
The Series 400 Twin Otter Otter is the best-selling next generation turbo-prop aircraft in its class, with Viking aircraft sold and delivered to 26 countries worldwide, and is known for its sturdiness and its ability to take off and land in challenging terrain. The aircraft is used in a wide range of sectors, from disaster relief and mining exploration to medical evacuation and passenger and cargo service in remote areas.
Following Transport Canada’s announcement that the Series 400 Twin Otter has received Type Certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Viking Air Limited and Reignwood Aviation Group of Beijing, China, have entered into a a strategic partnership agreement for the purchase of fifty aircraft including exclusive representation rights for the Series 400 Twin Otter in China. Deliveries of Reignwood’s Series 400 Twin Otters will commence in the 4th quarter of 2015, with the first two aircraft configured in regional commuter landplane and amphibious floats. In the coming weeks, Viking and Reignwood will also be working to determine a suitable location for the development of a factory endorsed completion and service center (FECSC). The FECSC will see aircraft manufactured at Viking’s Canadian factories destined for the Chinese market undergo customer completion and customization in China.
David Curtis, Viking Air President and CEO, commented, “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, which is anticipated to reach 500 aircraft over 20 years.” He added, “This strategic partnership will allow Viking to tap into this extensive market potential, where the seaplane segment in particular is expected to expand rapidly over the next ten years.” Services provided by Reignwood Group include airport construction, aircraft operations and maintenance, pilot recruitment and training and medical transport services. Reignwood Aviation aims to become a leader in China’s fast-growing domestic aviation industry.