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Viking Air Mulls Plans To Build CL-415 Water Bomber In Calgary, Canada

But Many Hurdles Remain Before Manufacturing Can Begin

A plan to manufacture a new version of the CL-415 water bomber in Calgary, Canada has been approved by the Viking Air Ltd. board of directors, which analysts say could bring up to 900 new jobs to the region. That could be an economic boon for the city which is currently struggling in the face of low energy prices and high unemployment.

The Calgary Herald reports that Viking Air CEO David Curtis recently visited the city where the company has already acquired some 300,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space. The company bought the design and manufacturing rights for the CL-415 "SuperScooper" aircraft, which made them the support company for the 170 aircraft currently operating in 11 countries. Bombardier stopped manufacturing the airplane in 2015.

Viking, which recently revived the Twin Otter airplane, is now looking at adding the CL-415 to its product lineup.

Curtis said that if they decide to begin manufacturing the water bomber, it would follow much the same process as the Twin Otter, with final assembly taking place in Calgary. "It was just a natural fit to grow there," he told the paper.

Curtis said that the company has not yet decided whether to make the $400 million investment in a manufacturing plan for the CL-415, but he would have to line up customers before they would start building airplanes.

Bombardier had built about three of the aircraft each year. Curtis said that he expects to have a business plan in front of the Viking Air board by next year.

(Image from file)

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