Longview Aviation Capital, Viking’s parent, has partnered with Cascade Aerospace to provide training see more
Source: Times Colonist
Viking Air, Cascade partner in waterbomber conversions
Viking Air’s parent company has tapped a Lower Mainland aerospace firm to offer guidance and expertise to the North Saanich manufacturer as it embarks on the conversion of older aircraft into new waterbombers.
Longview Aviation Capital, Viking’s parent, has partnered with Cascade Aerospace to provide training and resources for Viking’s CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter conversion program. That program will see 11 CL-215 firebomber aircraft converted to the CL-415EAF, which Viking bills as the world’s only purpose-built aerial firefighter and multi-mission amphibious platform.
Viking is also investigating if there is a business case to be made for manufacturing new waterbombers. New aircraft would likely sell in the $40-million range while converted aircraft sell for about $30 million.
Cascade was chosen because it has already converted nine Canadair CL-215 firefighting aircraft to CL-215T turbine configurations for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Cascade is both well-respected and well-established in the aerial firefighting community. We’re confident their track record will contribute to the on-time delivery of the initial CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter,” said Longview chairman David Curtis.
The first conversion of the aircraft will be done at Cascade’s facilities at the Abbotsford International Airport. That is expected to start in September.
Cascade will provide training to Longview observers during that initial conversion and will send support staff to provide on-site training at Longview’s facilities in Calgary, where the rest of the conversions are to be done.
The conversion includes installing new Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines, a new digital avionics suite, six new aircraft structures including winglets and finlets, upgrading power-assist flight controls, a new power distribution system and complete rewiring.
Longview is hiring 150 technical and support staff members at its Calgary facilities for the project. The turbine conversion kits will be developed and produced at Viking’s facilities at the Victoria International Airport, where Viking has already hired 50 in support of the program.
Viking already has confirmed orders for three converted waterbombers. Bridger Aerospace Group of Bozeman, Montana signed a contract to buy three Viking CL-415EAF enhanced aerial firefighter aircraft. The first two are to be delivered in 2020 and the third plane will be delivered in 2021.
Viking Air will hire more than 200 workers as the aviation manufacturing company starts a new... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Viking Air to hire 200 workers to rebuild firefighting bombers
Viking Air will hire more than 200 workers as the aviation manufacturing company starts a new program to rebuild a firefighting water bomber.
Victoria-based Viking said Monday it will collaborate with sister company Longview Aviation Asset Management of Calgary to launch the Viking CL-415EAF conversion program.
The companies said in a statement that the joint agreement on the CL-415EAF aircraft will provide an economic boost throughout Western Canada with job creation, aerospace manufacturing innovation, supply chain development, academic partnerships and global export opportunities.
To initiate the program, Longview will hire 150 technical and support staff at its Calgary facilities, where 11 CL-215 aerial-firefighting aircraft owned by the company will undergo modification using Viking-supplied conversion kits.
To support development of the conversion, Viking has already hired 50 employees and launched a recruitment campaign to hire an additional 50 at its Victoria International Airport location.
Viking will be reinstating its Viking Academy paid-training program to provide successful applicants with the technical training required for the positions.
Longview and Viking are working with post-secondary institutions to develop technologies and provide training assistance in support of the program. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology has been engaged for personnel training in Alberta, and Viking is developing partnerships with companies participating in the British Columbia Technology Super Cluster initiative.
Viking said the CL-415EAF conversion program forms part of a staged approach to use advancements made with the Longview-converted aircraft as the basis for the proposed Viking CL-515 new-production amphibious aerial-firefighting aircraft.
Viking has applied to the federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund for financial support. The funding would be invested between British Columbia and Alberta’s aerospace manufacturing, supply chain, academic and skills-training sectors, and provide program benefits to both provinces in Western Canada.
Viking is also examining a $400-million program announced last year to rebuild the newer CL-415 water bomber in Calgary and at its facilities in Victoria.
Viking has already manufactured more than 200 Series 400 Twin Otter planes and owns the plans and rights to all of the de Havilland aircraft.
A total of 900 jobs would be created if the CL-415 goes into production see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
Viking ramps up Twin Otter production
Viking Air employees are on the job again after a three-month layoff that saw the company sell several new Twin Otters and move forward on future deals.
“There are a number of deals that are coming through that gave us enough confidence to restart the production line, so it’s fantastic,” Viking president Dave Curtis said Wednesday from Ottawa where he was attending the Canadian Aerospace Summit.
Viking is also diversifying by lining up 11 orders to convert CL-215 water bombers into a configuration similar to a newer version of the firefighting plane called the CL-415, or SuperScooper.
It is about six months away from a decision on whether to start building new CL-415 aircraft, Curtis said. The plane was built by Bombardier until 2015 and 170 are still in service today.
Orders for more than 20 such aircraft are necessary to start production, Curtis said. He noted that French President Emanuel Macron has expressed interest in the CL-415 and talked about the need for 20 of them in the European Union.
In Europe, the CL-415 is recognized as the primary firefighting airplane, Curtis said.
Different types of aircraft have their own roles to play in fighting fires, Curtis said. Planes are typically used to dump retardant on the edges of fires.
If Viking brings the CL-415 back into production, work would be divided in a similar fashion to what is happening with Twin Otters, he said. Large components would be manufactured at its North Saanich headquarters on Victoria International Airport lands. Final assembly would be in the Calgary plant, and planes would likely return to Victoria for finishing and delivery, Curtis said.
A total of 900 jobs would be created if the CL-415 goes into production, Curtis said.
Interest in water bombers comes as climate change sweeps the planet. Severe wildfires broke out this past summer in B.C., with 54 per cent attributed to people, and the rest to lightning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.
Viking has been building the updated Twin Otter for a decade. So far, it has sold 130 of the planes around the globe. Each has a base price of about $7 million.
During the 90-day pause in production, which resumed Nov. 1, the company sold eight planes. Recent purchases sent planes to Fiji, Alaska and the Middle East, said Curtis.
The majority of the 212 employees affected by the layoff have returned to work on Twin Otters. It will take about 60 days to get the production line fully ready again. “We certainly were not prepared to bring people back if we thought we were only going to have to lay them off again,” said Curtis.
Alterations must be completed at the North Saanich building to fit in the conversion work on the CL-215, Curtis said. He noted that a team in the United Kingdom is preparing to transfer needed tools here, used in converting the firefighting aircraft.
The 11 conversion projects alone represent two to three years worth of work, Curtis said.
Thousands of B.C. residents were displaced by wildfires this year. B.C.’s largest single fire, in the Cariboo and Chilcotin, eventually covered 432,000 hectares. Deadly wildfires also broke out this year in California, Portugal and Spain. The B.C. Wildfire Service said so far this fiscal year (April 2017 to March 2018), there have been 1,354 fires, burning 1.2 million hectares.
The province contracts out for the bulk of the firefighting aircraft it uses, with Conair Aerial Firefighting of Abbotsford winning most of the recent contracts.
Coulson Air of Port Alberni is aiming to compete for that business by converting six Boeing passenger aircraft into “Fireliner” air tankers capable of holding 4,000 gallons each. Coulson owns two Martin Mars water bombers, dating from the 1930s. One was damaged and not available until later in the summer.
Viking Air has signed an agreement that brings Ansett Aviation Training of Melbourne, Australia... see more
Training centre endorsed for CL-415 aerial firefighting aircraft
Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada has signed an agreement that brings Ansett Aviation Training of Melbourne, Australia, into the Amphibious Aircraft Division support network, joining Viking’s sister-company Pacific Sky Aviation Inc. as the second factory-endorsed training centre (FETC) for the Viking CL-415 aerial firefighting aircraft.
As part of the agreement, Ansett will invest in the development of what Viking said will be the first ever level D full flight simulator for the CL-415, which will be supplied by TRU Simulation + Training and installed at a new state-of-the-art training centre at Milan-Malpensa Airport, Italy, in 2018.
The one-day event on Oct. 24 will be a step toward improved collaboration within the industry. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Camosun, advanced manufacturing sector gear up for Innovate 2017
Camosun College will be ground zero for the advanced manufacturing sector this month, as the industry comes together with its constituent stakeholders for Innovate 2017.
Designed to highlight the issues the industry faces and discuss possible solutions, the one-day event on Oct. 24 will be a step toward improved collaboration within the industry and with training and education partners.
“They want to gather and meet, organize and talk about the issues they have — and figure out how to solve them,” said organizer John Juricic, owner of Harbour Digital Media. “Getting people to talk about them is key. This showcase, the one-day symposium, is the first attempt at gathering people to start to talk about these issues,” said Juricic, who has been studying and consulting with the manufacturing sector on the Island for years.
At the top of the agenda is discussing how to better integrate innovation into the workforce and into company operations, and seeing what impact that could have on the labour force.
“We want a dynamic conversation about this, about growing the industry and increasing employment,” Juricic said.
The showcase has booked four keynote speakers: Bill Collins of Quester Tangent, Dave Curtis of Viking Air, Tim Walzack from Camosun and Doug Pauze of Coastland Wood Industries. They will talk about the issues manufacturers face and how they’re being dealt with.
There will be a panel discussion and back-and-forth to allow for an exchange of ideas on best practices and solutions.
Curtis, Viking’s chief executive, said the forum to share ideas is essential for the industry, as each Island company faces a series of shared challenges. They include connectivity with the outside world, cost of living, labour shortages and transportation costs to get products on and off the Island.
“As a group, whether it’s the [manufacturing associations or industry organizations], training, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is top of mind,” Curtis said, noting his company is always looking for ways to shorten the training cycle and to attract new people.
Curtis said that’s what his keynote will focus on, as well as telling Viking’s story and the impact various global factors have had on its production.
The company, which manufactures Twin Otter aircraft, is in the midst of growing pains.
It is both dealing with a production pause — it laid off more than 200 employees in the spring and is only now starting to hire people back — while it continues to explore the possibility of expanding its production to include the CL-415 water bomber, which until 2015 was manufactured by Bombardier.
The addition of the water bomber to Viking’s production line could mean 900 new jobs. Curtis said they are working on the business plan and expect to approach Viking’s board for a “green light” early in the new year.
Juricic said that alongside manufacturers, the showcase will attract economic development groups, human resources professionals, consultants and education institutions.
So far, 80 people have registered for the event. There are tickets available for 120.
The conference will be live-streamed for those unable to make it to Victoria. More information is available at: mfgcln.com/conference-agenda/.
Viking Air sells Panama a second Twin Otter for troop transport, medical support role see more
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Viking Air sells Panama a second Twin Otter for troop transport, medical support role
Viking Air Limited of Victoria, BC, has sold its second Series 400 Twin Otter to the government of Panama for use by its Servicio Nacional Aeronaval (SENAN) Air Group based in Cocoli, Panama. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in December 2017.
SENAN is the organization within Panama’s national forces that is responsible for public security through use of naval and air means.
The Viking Series 400 will be equipped with standard wheel gear for its primary role as troop and cargo transport, and will also be configured for medical evacuation to support emergencies as needed, the company noted. The aircraft will be the second Twin Otter to be introduced to SENAN’s operational fleet, and will join the first Viking Series 400 aircraft delivered in December 2016.
Photo above courtesy of Viking.
CAAC has approved the operation of Viking Series 400 Twin Otters equipped with Wipline 13000... see more
Viking Series 400 Twin Otter receives float certification in China
Viking Air Limited of Victoria, B.C., has 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 nine and operate with two pilots, making it uneconomical to run a commercial seaplane operation.
“With over 18,000 kilometres of coastline and more than 6,000 islands, China presents numerous opportunities for seaplane operations for commercial, private and government support,” said Dominique Spragg, Viking’s vice-president of 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.
Viking Air has inked a deal with Fiji Airways to sell three Twin Otter Series 400 aircrafts see more
Source: Times Colonist
On the Street: Viking signs deal with Fiji Airways
Viking Air has inked a deal with Fiji Airways to sell three Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft to be used as a regional commuter service around the island nation.
The deal also includes an option for an additional aircraft. Viking intends to deliver the aircraft between October and February. They join Fiji Airways’ existing fleet of three legacy Twin Otter aircraft. “The Twin Otter remains the aircraft of choice for our subsidiary Fiji Link’s operations to most of Fiji’s smaller airports,” said Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways managing director. “The Series 400 is a definite step up for our expanded Twin Otter fleet, and will allow us to increase capacity to key Fijian destinations.” Each aircraft carries 19 passengers.
Viking Air finalizing case to start building SuperScooper water bombers as wildfires continue see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
Viking Air president pitching to produce firefighting planes
Viking Air president David Curtis is finalizing a business case to start building SuperScooper water bombers as wildfires continue raging at home and around the world.
Curtis is going before the company’s board in two weeks to seek a green light to start talking to potential customers about the plane. Called the CL-415, it was manufactured by Bombardier until 2015 and 170 remain in service.
North Saanich-based Viking acquired manufacturing rights for the water bomber last year.
“We have interest from around the globe,” Curtis said Tuesday.
Viking describes the water bomber as the “aviation industry’s benchmark amphibious aircraft and backbone of firefighting missions around the globe.”
It is able to skim over water and scoop up its load of 6,137 litres in just 12 seconds.
He is hoping to move ahead with the plans now that Viking has hit pause for three months on manufacturing its Twin Otter Series 400. Viking has built 120 Twin Otters and delivered them to 30 countries. The plane’s base price is $7 million.
A total of 212 Viking employees have been temporarily laid off. Of those, about 136 worked in North Saanich. Viking also has a facility in Calgary. Workers are continuing to receive benefits during the anticipated 90-day break in manufacturing.
There was pent-up demand when Viking resurrected the Twin Otter, Curtis said. Sturdy and versatile Canadian-built Twin Otters won a loyal following when they were built by de Havilland between 1965 and 1988. Many of those are flying today.
But the company is subject to a number of factors beyond its control and is now in a cyclical situation, Curtis said. This includes the health of resource sectors. The downturn in oil, gas and mining affects orders. Curtis also noted that a political situation in another country stymied purchase plans.
He has committed to employees that he would not wait until the end of the three-month period to update them on the company’s plans. Viking is aiming to be transparent with its workforce. Some remain on the job to handle parts for servicing work.
In 2015, Viking laid off 116 — with 100 of those from North Saanich — when sales slowed and some customers were not paying for planes that they had ordered.
A portion of Victoria's Airport has been transformed into the “Tectoria Innovation Station" see more
“Tectoria Innovation Station” to launch at the Victoria International Airport
Ribbon cutting to take place February 20, 2017 at 11am
VICTORIA, BC (February 15, 2017) - A portion of Victoria International Airport’s Arrival Rotunda has been transformed into the “Tectoria Innovation Station,” a new interactive exhibit heralding Greater Victoria’s long history of innovation and entrepreneurship and the thriving tech sector that developed as a result.
The installation features a mad scientist's laboratory complete with transparent video screens and detailed historical accounts of our region’s innovations all surrounded by intricate pipes, gauges and switches to catch the attention of passersby and draw them in for a closer look. It was developed specifically to give the local technology sector added awareness, airport guests an added experience, and potential talent and investors a place to go for more information, whYYJ.ca.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council) and the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA), have spent the last 10 years informally exploring ways to work together to spread the word about our top local industry, technology. ”When we heard that the Victoria Airport Authority had a potential area that we could utilize to build an intriguing interactive exhibit we jumped at the chance,” Dan Gunn, VIATEC CEO explained. “We quickly started developing concepts on something that would be out of the ordinary and soon after opened discussions with potential funding partners.”
“Technology plays such an integral role in our local economy,” says Geoff Dickson, VAA President and CEO. “We’re pleased to partner with VIATEC and showcase this interactive display. It’s a great way for us to support Victoria’s technology sector and to provide our passengers and the public with a unique experience and opportunity to learn about the positive contributions it makes to the region.”
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and South Island Prosperity Project (Prosperity Project) were intrigued and agreed to dedicate some of the funding they had received from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to the project.
”It takes a village to raise an economy and we are very grateful to the Victoria Airport Authority and our funding partners for making this possible,” acclaimed Dan Gunn. “With 1.85 million visitors walking through the gates at one of the world’s greatest airports, we are fortunate to be offered the opportunity to build a presence at the primary gateway to our community. Tourism is our best draw and once people are hooked on our island lifestyle many of them want to stay. We believe this exhibit will give the ones that want to move here, the info they need to understand how they might find a job or, better yet, invest in or create a new company here.”
"We're proud to be part of the team that brought this project to life,” said Emilie de Rosenroll, Executive Director of the Prosperity Project. “The Tectoria Innovation Station is a way to raise the profile of our local entrepreneurial culture, and it will help the Prosperity Project connect with new companies and established entrepreneurs through the whYYJ.ca website."
“The Tectoria Innovation Station is one of several joint projects that the Greater Victoria Chamber has undertaken over the past three years to support trade and investment,” said Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “Thanks to funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada and stakeholders throughout the region, we have been able to bring the right people together to see outcomes, like this one, that will resonate within our community and economy for years.”
The unveiling will take place on February 20, 2017 at 11am in the Arrivals Rotunda of the Victoria International Airport. Following a few announcements and a ribbon cutting, media and the public are encouraged to take the first steps through the installation.
ABOUT THE DESIGN
With the vision statement that, “Innovation, entrepreneurship and technology has shaped Victoria’s present, past and inspires our potential going forward.” VIATEC sought out local designer and fabricator, Russell Papp, to bring a “Mad Scientist’s Lab” theme to fruition. Russell is well known for projects around town including the Phillip’s Beer Wagons and some of Tourism Victoria’s exhibits last October.
Airport visitors will get to peer into portals containing Holografyx Showcase video displays, press buttons and gears, and flip through drafting table designs containing bits of Victoria’s rich, innovative history. From aviation, to shipbuilding, ocean sciences and education. The first video features short overviews of AXYS Technologies, FTS and Viking Air. The drafting table features are opening with historical overviews of key elements of our economy, and VIATEC is encouraging locals to submit suggested additions and corrections, so that the exhibit is ever-changing and improving. A feedback form on the whYYJ.ca web site will make it easy for people to provide suggested edits and updates.
Your readers, listeners and viewers are welcome to learn even more about how to connect with, join or learn more about the local tech scene by attending Discover Tectoria on February 24, 2017 from 11am to 6pm at the Crystal Garden. www.discovertectoria.com
Marketing & Events Director, VIATEC
e: email@example.com, c: 250-896-7668
Viking Air Enters Multi-Year Support Contract With Peru Air Force for Series 400 Twin Otter AircraftThe contract will commence in the coming weeks see more
Sidney, BC, November 14, 2016--(T-Net)-- Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, and the Fuerza Aerea del Peru (FAP) have entered into a multi-year contract for the comprehensive support of twelve Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft operated by the FAP in the Amazonian region of north-east Peru.
Modeled after similar OEM fleet support programs, the objective of the contract is to streamline the spare parts procurement process, obtain seamless technical support, and maximize the utilization of their fleet of twelve Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft.
The contract will commence in the coming weeks and provides the FAP with a continuous flow of spare parts, on-site technical support, “Performance-Based Logistics (PBL)” parts and overhaul services associated with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, and supply of initial provisioning spare parts and equipment required to support the fleet of twelve aircraft.
A key component of the contract, the PBL program was specifically developed to provide the FAP with budget predictability, a simplified and expedient parts ordering process, up-to-date technical publications, and all the necessary tools required to monitor upcoming maintenance events. The program also provides coverage for parts and overhaul services associated with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance events for the airframe systems, avionics, and propellers.
“As the OEM, Viking is ideally positioned to provide the Peru Air Force with the essential parts supply and technical expertise required to maximize utilization of their Series 400 fleet,” commented Michael Hall, Viking's director of Global Customer Support. “The FAP's implementation of such an all-encompassing support contract is a progressive step towards ensuring the longevity of their fleet, and Viking is proud to be part of their continued success.”
The FAP's twelve Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft purchase is Viking's largest single-customer order to date. The aircraft were configured with both land gear and floats to support various missions in remote areas of Peru, and were delivered between 2011 and 2014.
Viking Air’s Twin Otters may soon be flying around Brazil after the Victoria company received... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Viking wins Twin Otter certification in Brazil
Victoria, BC (November 1, 2016) - Viking Air’s Twin Otters may soon be flying around Brazil after the Victoria company received certification from that country to allow the aircraft to enter the market.
Viking sees great potential in the largest South American country. “The Series 400 Twin Otter is the perfect solution for the remote areas of Brazil as it can provide essential air transportation to areas lacking infrastructure development,” said David Caporali, Viking’s regional sales director for Latin America. “The Series 400 platform is ideally suited for the harsh operating conditions that Brazil presents, and we are confident it will prove itself to be the aircraft of choice for commercial and government operations alike.”
Viking said the Brazilian government’s intention is to foster regional air transport links to remote locations in the country, and that bodes well for sales.
Viking sells its Twin Otter aircraft into 29 countries. Since it launched the 400 series, Viking has sold 125, and on average completes a new one every 15 days. It’s most recent sale was to the government of Panama’s Servicio Nacional Aeronaval Air Group. Viking will deliver one aircraft in the next few weeks.
A Nepalese airline is buying three new Twin Otters airplanes produced by Viking Air. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
A Nepalese airline is buying three new Twin Otters airplanes produced by Viking Air, based on the Saanich Peninsula.
The aircraft will be delivered to Kathmandu-based Tara Air between September and early 2017.
Each of the new Series 400 planes has a base price of about $7 million.
Tara Air already flies Series 400 Twin Otters, as well as Twin Otters manufactured earlier by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd.
Between 1965 and 1988, de Havilland produced about 800 of the turboprop aircraft.
Viking Air brought the Twin Otter back into production in 2007 and delivered its first in 2010. The aircraft is used around the world and is valued for its ability to operate in rugged conditions.
Peter Walker, Viking’s regional sales manager for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, said for Tara Air to buy more new Twin Otters is a “testament to the quality of the aircraft and its ability to reliably operate in the remote regions of Nepal.”
So far, more than 125 new Twin Otters have been sold to 29 countries.
Viking has manufacturing facilities in North Saanich and in Calgary.
Tara Air is expanding its service in remote rural areas of Nepal, Viking said in a statement. Company officials are attending the Farnborough International Airshow in England.
Viking also announced that it will not put its new Twin Otter flight simulator and training facility in Victoria as expected, but will instead install it in Calgary.
The simulator will be ready for customers in March 2017, the company said.
Viking Air Ltd. has bought the manufacturing rights for Bombardier’s waterbombers. see more
Source: Times Colonist (with files from Canadian Press)
Author: Carla Wilson
North Saanich-based Viking Air Ltd. has bought the manufacturing rights for Bombardier’s waterbombers.
This deal sees Viking take over product support, parts and services for the planes, which includes the Bombardier 415, dubbed the “Superscooper.”
The aircraft is able to scoop up a 6,137-litre load of water in 12 seconds as it skims over water.
“This acquisition expands Viking’s capabilities in product support and parts into another vital niche aviation segment, and ensures that a unique and important Canadian innovation stays in Canada,” David Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Viking, said in a statement Monday.
“We are proud to add another iconic Canadian aircraft program to Viking’s stable. Our aim is to take the 415 to its highest potential and keep these aircraft in service for decades to come.”
The agreement will see Viking add another 40 people to its workforce in Victoria and Calgary.
Viking currently has 330 staff at its North Saanich operation and 88 people in Calgary.
Viking has bought and upgraded a 50,000-square foot facility near Calgary airport for the Bombardier venture.
Sale details are not being released.
The Bombardier sale follows Viking’s successful reintroduction of the popular Twin Otter plane, manufactured in Victoria and Calgary.
Viking sells the rugged and versatile Twin Otter around the globe. The company delivered its first next-generation Twin Otter in 2010.
Bombardier amphibious aircraft are used by 21 operators in 11 countries, Viking said. A total of 170 of its planes are in service, including earlier CL-215 and CL-215T.
“This transaction builds on our presence in British Columbia and Alberta and expands on the existing strengths of the western Canadian aerospace industry. At the same time, we will continue to rely on an extensive supply chain in Quebec and Ontario to support both the amphibious aircraft and Twin Otter programs,” Curtis said.
The 415 was designed and is built in Canada. It is the only western aircraft purpose-built for firefighting, Viking said.
Meanwhile, Bombardier and its union have agreed on a plan for cutting 200 positions at the company’s Q400 manufacturing operation in Toronto so some work can be outsourced to other countries.
Some of the Bombardier employees currently in those positions will be offered training and transfer opportunities within the company. Others will be offered retirement packages under the agreement with Unifor.
A Bombardier spokeswoman says the agreement is part of a five-year plan, announced in November, to make the company’s products more profitable and competitive in the long term.
Bombardier plans to make the Q400 wings in Mexico and cockpits in China, for final assembly in Toronto.
The Toronto operation currently has about 3,500 employees — including 1,400 working on the Q400, a turboprop used by commercial airlines around the world. Toronto-based Porter Airlines and WestJet’s Encore service are among the Q400’s customers.
Besides the Q400s, Bombardier does final assembly of the Global Express 5000 and 6000 business jets in Toronto. The Downsview plant is also scheduled to work on the longer-range 7000 and 8000 Global Express jets.
Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said it’s too soon to say how many of the Q400 positions will be eliminated through retirements and how many will be dealt with through retraining and other mitigation measures.
“We can’t speculate until we’ve done the exercise with the union,” de la Barrera said Monday.
Scott McIlmoyle, president of Unifor local 112, was unavailable for comment.
“I’m a believer in developing an aerospace supply chain in B.C.” see more
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.