Viking Air announced that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has approved the operation of Viking Series 400 Twin Otters equipped with Wipline 13000 straight and amphibious floats in China.
Certification of the Series 400 Twin Otter on floats is a major milestone in developing the burgeoning seaplane market in China as it provides a proven twin-engine solution capable of profitable 19- passenger commercial operation. Prior to certification of the Series 400, anticipated growth in the Chinese seaplane market has been gradual due to the requirement that commercial operators of single-engine aircraft must limit the number of passengers to 9 and operate with two pilots, making it uneconomical to run a commercial seaplane operation.
“With over 18,000 kilometers of coastline and more than 6000 islands, China presents numerous opportunities for seaplane operations for commercial, private and government support,” commented Dominique Spragg, Viking’s vice president Strategic Planning and regional sales director for China. “China is a strong emerging market for the Viking Series 400 Twin Otter, and the seaplane segment in particular is expected to expand rapidly over the next 10 years.”
Meiya Air of Hainan Province was the first Chinese company to sign on for the Series 400 Twin Otter, ordering five float-equipped aircraft to support their seaplane flightseeing and charter operations in Sanya and the surrounding region of the South China Sea.
Reignwood Aviation Group of Beijing, China, has also made a commercial commitment to purchase up to 50 Viking Twin Otters, with the initial aircraft delivered configured as 19-passenger regional commuters with amphibious floats.
With a commitment to being the world’s premier seaplane manufacturer, and to support the rapid growth of the Chinese seaplane market, Viking has invested in the development and certification of the world’s first Level “D” full flight simulator with seaplane capability. Located at Viking’s Calgary, Alberta facility, the simulator is now fully operational and will commence student training in November 2017.