Two more Twin Otters flying in Chukotka

Photo by ChukotAvia

Anadyr-based Chukotavia, Russia’s first operator of 14- and 19-seat DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 turboprops (produced by Viking Air), has put its third and fourth aircraft into operation.

“It is likely, that in the fall of 2016 we’ll make the decision on expanding the fleet, based on the results of the operation of all four DHC-6s,” Chukotavia’s general director Tomas Trojanovski told Russian Aviation Insider.

In the last 30 days one of the carrier’s Twin Otters has flown 52 hors. “Chukotka is no Moscow, and no central region either, you can’t just set a benchmark of increasing flight hours and achieve it. There is a schedule, and you shouldn’t go out of its limits, otherwise you’ll have no passengers. So you can’t really open a new line, get a dedicated aircraft and make money off it. We fly to all settlements in Chukotka Autonomous Region, and there’s no more destination to conquer,” Trojanovski said.

Apparently, the only way Chukotavia’s flight time can increase is building more strips across Chukotka. In 2015 one more DHC-6-capable strip became operational in Chuvanskoye settlement, about 465 km straight from Anadyr’s airport, Ugolny.

According to Trojanovsky, although the operational expenses of the Canadian aircraft surged proportionately to the devaluation of the ruble, the airline is still interested in growing its fleet.

Chukotavia is still operating flights to two destinations within Chukotka using Antonov An-24/26 aircraft. Even if the number of DHC-6s grows, the larger aircraft, such as the 42-seat An-24s or 17-22 seat Mil Mi-8 helicopters will not be grounded.

“No [flying] weather for a week isn’t unusual for Chukotka, and in that case An-24/26 takes in one flight all of the passengers the DHC-6 would carry in five days,” Trojanovski explains. “Same goes to Mi-8: if a location has accumulated a batch of passengers due to adverse weather, they can be carried by two DHC-6s or by one Mi-8”.

One of the airline’s DHC-6s can be fitted with floats, but Trojanovski says there’s no intention to operate the aircraft off water. And so far there isn’t a single certified flight instructor with the needed rating.

Two more Twin Otters are operated commercially in Russia by Aurora airline (subsidiary of Aeroflot).


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