Industry welcomes aerospace funds

Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy

Victoria, BC - February 18, 2016 - Tucked into a $48-billion budget that was heavy on health spending, housing affordability initiatives and changes to the Medical Services Plan were small items that could have a big impact on the Island economy.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced funding would continue for programs in the province’s aerospace, forestry and mining industries that will result in jobs and revenue for Island companies.

The province confirmed it will provide its third installment of $5 million for the Pacific division of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.

It will be a big step in helping developing companies find their feet in a global business, said Viking Air chief executive Dave Curtis. “I’m a believer in developing an aerospace supply chain in B.C.”

Curtis said many suppliers tend to be based in central Canada, which means Viking pays more for parts and services. “The better the supply chain out here, the cheaper it is for us.”

Curtis said there are plenty of small B.C. companies that could do work for Viking, but they need to develop other markets to be sustainable.

“If they can get out there and understand the opportunities in a global context, then we can add to that,” he said, noting the Aerospace Industries Association has been able to help more than 40 small local firms broaden their appeal.

B.C.’s aerospace industry records about $1.2 billion in revenue and employs about 10,000 people.

Viking used this week’s Singapore Air Show to make a pair of announcements about expanding its own business.

The company introduced the Viking Twin Otter 400S seaplane, billed as the world’s first dedicated seaplane in the 15 to 19 passenger category. The aircraft is a variant of the Series 400 Twin Otter and will be sold for $6 million US.

Deliveries are expected in the first quarter of 2017.

Viking also announced it has leased four Twin Otters to Daily Air Corporation of Taiwan.

The aircraft will be delivered in the second and third quarters of this year.