Viking Air Ltd.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryAerospace
Founded1970; 54 years ago (1970)
FounderNils Christensen
Headquarters,
Canada
Key people
Brian Chafe (CEO)[1]
ProductsDHC-2T Turbo Beaver
Number of employees
575[2]
ParentDe Havilland Canada
Websitevikingair.com

Viking Air Ltd. is an operator and manufacturer of aircraft, as well as aircraft parts and systems, based at Victoria International Airport in North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada. The company provides upgrades to the DHC-2 Beaver, spare parts for older de Havilland Canada aircraft, and components for Bell Helicopter Textron. The company is a subsidiary of De Havilland Canada.

History

The company was established in 1970 by founder, Norwegian-born Canadian aviation pioneer Nils Christensen, doing overhaul, maintenance and conversions to all types of aircraft but specializing in flying boats.[3] In 1983, Christensen acquired the exclusive rights from de Havilland Canada to manufacture spare parts and to distribute the DHC-2 Beaver and the DHC-3 Otter aircraft. He retired as president of Viking Air in 1987.[4]

The company is a subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital,[5] which is owned by Sherry Brydson, granddaughter of deceased newspaper magnate Roy Thomson and cousin of David Thomson, parties of the largest family fortune in Canada.[6]

Acquisition of de Havilland Canada designs: DHC-1 through DHC-7

In May 2005, the company subsequently purchased the parts and service business for all the older de Havilland Canada aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace.[7] On 24 February 2006, Viking purchased the type certificates from Bombardier for all the discontinued de Havilland Canada designs: the DHC-1 Chipmunk, DHC-2 Beaver, DHC-3 Otter, DHC-4 Caribou, DHC-5 Buffalo, DHC-6 Twin Otter and DHC-7 Dash 7, giving Viking Air the right to manufacture new aircraft if a market should arise for such.[8]

Restart of DHC production

First flight of the Series 400 on 1 October 2008

On 2 April 2007, Viking announced that, nineteen years after being discontinued, with 27 orders and options in hand, it was restarting production of the Twin Otter with more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34/35 engines.[9] The first flight of the Series 400 technical demonstrator took place on 1 October 2008 at Victoria International Airport.[10] In February 2010 the first new production Twin Otter Series 400 equipped with Honeywell's Primus Apex IFR digital flight deck and configured with a commuter interior took its first flight.[11] The DHC-6-400 series Twin Otter design has all around better performance, it includes more power, space, and now can haul up to 4,280 lbs of freight.[citation needed]

Viking Air also produces upgraded DHC-2 Beavers fitted with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 turboprop engine called the DHC-2T Turbo Beaver.[12]

In December 2008, Viking Air indicated their intention to put the DHC-5 Buffalo series back into production in Canada at their home factory in North Saanich or in Calgary, Alberta. A potential new production Buffalo would have had Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 turboprops, a glass cockpit, enhanced vision and night vision goggle capability. The company proposed the aircraft as a replacement for the Royal Canadian Air Force fleet of existing DHC-5As but the aircraft was not included in the final assessment in 2016 which chose the EADS CASA C-295.[13][14]

In September 2017, Viking Air announced that it would begin talking to potential customers interested in the CL-415 "SuperScooper" Waterbomber aircraft, with the potential of the company reviving production of the aircraft if it finds demand.[5]

On March 31, 2022, De Havilland Canada Ltd. (under Viking Air) announced plans for the DHC-515 Firefighter Program.[15] Formerly known as the CL-515 program, the new water bomber aircraft builds upon the iconic CL-215 and CL-415 firefighting aircraft with modern features and improvements. Production and final assembly are to occur in Calgary, Alberta, where support for existing in-service CL-215 and CL-415 aircraft takes place. The company has signed letters of intent for the purchase of the first 22 DHC-515 aircraft by European customers. The program is expected to bring 500 jobs to Calgary.[16]

Further type certificate acquisitions

In 2006, Viking Air acquired the type certificate for the Trident TR-1 Trigull since 2006, along with the three prototypes built.[17] On 20 June 2016, Viking announced the acquisition of the worldwide amphibious aircraft program from Bombardier, including the type certificate for the CL-215, CL-215T and CL-415 Waterbombers.[18][19] The acquisition was finalized on 3 October.[20] On 29 May 2018, five CL-415EAF were sold to US firefighting company Bridger Aerospace, Longview then expected to recruit 200 workers in Calgary for the conversions.[21]

Dash-8 acquisition

On 8 November 2018, Viking Air parent Longview Aviation acquired the Bombardier Dash 8 program and the de Havilland brand from Bombardier to continue Q400 production, in Downsview until the lease ends in 2021, in a deal that closed in the second half of 2019, bringing together all of the DHC type certificates under one umbrella once again.[22] Bombardier announced the sale was for $300 million,[23] and expects $250 million net.[24] After the deal, Longview will have $1 billion (US$670 million) in annual sales and 1,800 workers in Victoria, Calgary and Toronto.[25] By November 2018 the sales of the higher-performance Q400 were slower than the cheaper aircraft from competitor ATR.[26]

In January 2019, parent company Longview announced that it would establish a new company in Ontario, under the De Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada name, to continue production of the Bombardier Dash 8 line.[27] The Dash 8 acquisition will vault Longview from 600–700 employees to up to 2,000 including the CL-415 new production. After Bombardier sold the Q400 plant in Downsview, Ontario, Longview has three years to find a new location in Ontario where production should stay with 1,000 people.[28]

In February 2022, Longview consolidated its activities, with Viking Air, Longview Aviation, Pacific Sky Training and De Havilland Canada all being rebranded as De Havilland Aircraft of Canada.[29]

Products

Fleet

As of February 2023, Viking Air has the following aircraft listed with Transport Canada and operate as ICAO airline designator VKN, and call sign TRUE NORTH.[30][31]

Viking Air fleet
Aircraft No. of aircraft Variants Notes
de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk 1
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 6 MK. I
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 2 Series 300, Series 310
Trident TR-1 Trigull 2 Viking Air owns the two remaining prototype aircraft, serial # 1 and 3. In 2003 Viking Air indicated an interest in producing the Trigull as a turbine-powered amphibious aircraft, with a price at that time estimated at US$400,000, but since then no further news has been released.[17][32][33][34][35]
Viking DHC-6 Twin Otter 10 Series 400
Total 21

See also

References

  1. ^ Canada, De Havilland Aircraft of. "Longview Aviation Capital Announces Consolidation of Companies under De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited and Appoints Brian Chafe Chief Executive Officer". www.newswire.ca.
  2. ^ strategis.gc.ca: "Canadian Company Profiles – Viking Air Limited – Company information", retrieved 26 May 2014
  3. ^ "Nils Christensen". Helicopters Magazine. 25 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Member Profiles". Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Varcoe: Viking Air building case for water-bomber manufacturing in Calgary". Calgary Herald. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ David Ebner (8 November 2018). "Longview Aviation revenue set to take off with Bombardier Q400 turboprop acquisition". Globe and mail.
  7. ^ "Viking Air acquires assets of Bombardier". Wings Magazine. 5 May 2005. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  8. ^ Viking Air Limited (23 February 2006). "Viking Acquires Type Certificates for de Havilland Canada Heritage Aircraft from Bombardier" (Press release).
  9. ^ Viking restarts Twin Otter production 2 April 2007
  10. ^ First Flight For New Twin Otter A "Boring" Success Archived 2 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine 01 October 2008
  11. ^ First Flight For New Twin Otter AvFlash News, 27 February 2010
  12. ^ "DHC-2T Turbo Beaver". Viking Air Ltd. 26 September 2014.
  13. ^ Niles, Russ. "Viking Proposes Resurrection Of DHC-5 Buffalo". avweb.com, December 2008. Retrieved: 13 September 2009.
  14. ^ Brewster, Murray (8 December 2016) [7 December 2016]. "Airbus chosen to build Canada's new search planes, ending 12-year procurement odyssey". CBC News.
  15. ^ "De Havilland launches DHC-515 Firefighter program". Skies Mag. 31 March 2022.
  16. ^ The Canadian Press (31 March 2022). "De Havilland to manufacture line of firefighting planes in Calgary". CBC News. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  17. ^ a b Transport Canada (6 February 2006). "Type Certificate A-119".
  18. ^ Viking Air (20 June 2016). "Viking Air Limited Acquires Worldwide CL-415 Waterbomber Program from Bombardier" (Press release).
  19. ^ "Viking Air to buy type certificates for Bombardier amphibians". Flightglobal. 21 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Viking completes acquisition of Bombardier's amphibious aircraft programme". Flight Global. 3 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Longview Aviation Asset Management Announces Bridger Aerospace Group as Launch Customer for Viking CL-415EAF "Enhanced Aerial Firefighter" Conversion Program" (Press release). Longview Aviation. 29 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Longview Aviation Capital Corp. Acquires Dash 8 Program from Bombardier Inc" (PDF) (Press release). Longview Aviation Capital Corp. 8 November 2018.
  23. ^ Frederic Tomesco (8 November 2018). "Bombardier Sinks Most Since 2015 as Hopes Dim for Turnaround". Bloomberg.
  24. ^ "Bombardier to sell Q400 programme". Flightglobal. 8 November 2018.
  25. ^ Kevin Orland; Frederic Tomesco (8 November 2018). "Bombardier Deal Gives Turboprop Crown to Twin Otter Planemaker".
  26. ^ Bogaisky, Jeremy (8 November 2018). "Bombardier Sells Aging Q400 Turboprop Line, Cutting 5,000 Jobs As It Sharpens Focus On Business Jets". Forbes.
  27. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Canada's Longview Plans To Continue Q400 Production As De Havilland". Aviation Week.
  28. ^ Graham Warwick (25 January 2019). "Canada's Longview Wants To Continue Q400 Production". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
  29. ^ "Viking Air rebrands within consolidation of LAC companies". Business Air News. 8 February 2022.
  30. ^ "ICAO Designators for Canadian Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services" (PDF). Nav Canada. 4 May 2023. p. 8. Retrieved 27 February 2023. Viking Air: VKN, TRUE NORTH
  31. ^ "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Viking Air". Transport Canada. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  32. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (May 1987). "Type Certificate Data Sheet No. A19AE". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  33. ^ Transport Canada (28 April 202). "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Trident Trigull TR-1". Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  34. ^ Saevdal, Steinar (13 October 2010). "The Trident Trigull Amphibian". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  35. ^ Niles, Russ (30 March 2003). "Bush Plane Legends Come Back". AVweb. Retrieved 1 July 2012.

External reading