Paris, France, June 18th, 2019: Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and Air Antilles, of Guadeloupe, French West Indies, have signed an agreement for the purchase of two Viking Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, making Air Antilles the first commercial operator of the Series 400 in the Caribbean. Also forming part of the purchase agreement, Air Antilles will become the first Series 400 Twin Otter operator to receive European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for steep approach operations.
The two Viking-built Series 400 Twin Otters are scheduled for delivery to Air Antilles in the last quarter of 2019 and will be configured as 19-passenger regional commuter landplanes to replace the two legacy de Havilland Series 300 aircraft currently in commercial service with the airline.
With delivery of the Series 400 aircraft, Air Antilles will become the first commercial operator to receive EASA certification for steep approach landings, providing the airline with procedures to operate at approach angles in excess of 4.5 degrees. This is essential for Air Antilles’ scheduled operations to Gustaf III airport in Saint Barthelemy in order to satisfy EASA’s requirements for all commercial aircraft that access the airport to have factory certification for steep approach landings due to the surrounding mountainous terrain.
Eric Kourry, chairman of Guyane Aero Invest, the holding company of Air Antilles, commented, “As an operator of legacy de Havilland Series 300 aircraft for more than a decade, our knowledge of the Twin Otter’s exceptional flight capabilities, ease of maintenance, high dispatch reliability and suitability for our operations made selection of the Viking Series 400 a natural choice for upgrading our fleet.
“As travel tourism in the Caribbean expands, improvements to safety are becoming increasingly important for airlines to retain a competitive advantage. The innumerous improvements made to the new Series 400 will help Air Antilles increase safety and bring added value to their flight operations,” said David Caporali, Viking regional sales director for the Americas. He added, “The Caribbean shows encouraging market opportunities for Series 400 Twin Otter due to its low operating costs, ability to access the many short runways throughout the region, and its ability to support growth of an inter-island commercial transportation network. We highly value Air Antilles' initiative to be the launch customer for the Series 400 in the region and are confident this relationship will yield many good results for both parties.”