Friday, July 12, 2013

$2.8m seaplane

 Pacific Island Air's new Otter seaplane is quieter, bigger and more comfortable. It was purchased for $US1.5m ($F2.8m).

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, July 13, 2013

PACIFIC Island Air's new single turbine Otter seaplane was purchased in the United States for $US1.5million ($F2.82m)

The investment and latest addition to the company's fleet was a boost for the economy in terms of service provided to the tourism sector.

General manager John Ambler said the new De Havilland DHC-3T Otter seaplane allowed them to carry up to 10 passengers plus luggage to resorts that were only accessible by water or helicopter.

"Helicopters become expensive for transfers with longer distances and the Otter operates at a lower cost than the helicopters," he said.

"We are in the process of talking with all resorts that are further afield than the Mamanuca Group to expand their options for guests and cargo transfers and also our business.

"We are able to convert the plane to carry both passengers and cargo thus allowing resorts to have urgent supplies delivered with their guests."

Mr Ambler said the Otter could also be used for medivacs and because of its size could carry several patients and medical staff which the helicopters in the country were unable to do.

"At this stage, we are going through the process of refurbishing our seaplanes and should demand dictate that we increase the size of the fleet, we will do so," he said.

"The single turbine Otter was purchased in the US then sent to Canada to be painted and have floats added to it.

"Adjustments were made to it so that we have the flexibility of carrying passengers and cargo together. The plane had been recently completely overhauled from end to end and installed with a new engine.

"We currently have three seaplanes in the fleet — two DHC-2 Beavers and the DHC-3 Otter.

"One of the Beavers is in Canada being completely refurbished and when it returns, we will send the other Beaver to Canada to go through a complete refurbishment as well."

Mr Ambler said the Otter was able to service most resorts in the Mamanucas, Yasawa, Kadavu and Vanua Levu.


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