Viking Air Ltd. is rolling out the first in its latest production order for six Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft.
Built for the Vietnamese Navy, the aircraft represent Viking Air’s ongoing investment in an old design. They bought the design (created by De Havilland Canada in 1964 and they ended production in 1988) from Bombardier in 2004 and built their first Twin Otter in 2010. This year, Vikling Air has built 13 of the aircraft. At an estimated $6.5 million per plane, the ccmpany has made a significant investment.
Viking Air’s marketing manager Angie Murray said they have delivered 22 of those orders and are working hard to move from producing a plane in 11 days from their current 14-day schedule. With an estimated $400 million in backlogged orders, she said they just cannot build them fast enough.
Viking Air employs close to 400 people in its Victoria Airport location and the rest in a Calgary warehouse, where the Twin Otter is assembled and tested.
To get enough workers, Viking Air plant manager Todd Sjerven said they partnered with Camosun College to train potential new staff. Finding enough qualified employees, he said, remains a challenge, but their efforts are paying off.