Air Seychelles has announced the purchase of three Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, in a deal which will see the carrier renew its domestic fleet.
The new aircraft will be used for services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as other islands in the archipelago, including Bird, Denis and Frégate.
All three aircraft deliveries are scheduled for mid-2015, with an option for earlier delivery if aircraft become available.
The airline currently operates one Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 and three Series 300 aircraft.
Cramer Ball, chief executive, Air Seychelles, said: “On the eve of our 35th anniversary, I’m delighted to mark a major milestone in our carrier’s development with this historic fleet order.
“This announcement is testament to the success of our turnaround strategy, which has seen an expansion in both our international and domestic services, and the synergies derived from working closely with our equity partner, Etihad Airways.
“Once delivered, the new aircraft will replace our three existing DHC-6 Series 300 Twin Otters, forming the backbone of a younger Air Seychelles domestic fleet.
“The aircraft will secure the future of our inter-island services, Seychelles tourism and our economy.”
Ball added the Canadian built 19-seat twin engine Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 aircraft are ideally suited for short sector flying, being able to land on rugged, short airstrips, and having few issues operating in a saline and humid environment.
“These aircraft are designed for Short Take-offs and Landings, and are robust in extreme conditions – something we have a lot of experience with in the Seychelles since the Twin Otters were first introduced here in the early 1980s.
“The new aircraft are the right tools at the right time for Air Seychelles.”
The new aircraft will be manufactured at Viking Air’s state-of-the-art production facility in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Previously, Twin Otters were manufactured by de Havilland Canada, and of the 850 built since the mid-1960s, more than 600 are still in active service around the world.