CAAMS to deliver second plane to Air Kiribati
CAAMS LLC is starting work on a second Twin Otter aircraft which will be used by Air Kiribati.
Officials from CAAMS and the South Pacific island nation — located west of Australia — signed the final agreement during a ceremony Monday at the Rutherford County Airport.
While the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the aircraft is expected to be delivered sometime in April 2014.
“I know we have established a successful relationship with CAAMS since the delivery of our first Twin Otter,” said Rimeta Beniamina, minister of communication for the island of Kiribati. “We hope to extend that relationship with the delivery of our second.”
CAAMS procured the latest Twin Otter from Lagos, Nigeria. It was being operated by Caverton Helicopters and used for oil discovery.
“The first time we saw it was three years ago,” said Everette Mash III, managing director of CAAMS LLC. “We’ve been eyeing it since then.”
The aircraft was flown from Lagos and arrived at the Rutherford County Airport Friday. Mash said the aircraft was built in 1986 and has 15,000 hours of flight time. It is the second such aircraft sold to Air Kiribati. Mash said the company has sold between 10-12 Twin Otter planes since locating to Rutherford County and nearly 170 since 1988.
Most of the overhaul work on the Air Kiribati plane will be done at the CAAMS hangar at the Rutherford County Airport. Engine overhaul will be done by Covington Aircraft, based in Okmulgee, Okla. The engines on the Twin Otter are Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27s.
“We try to bring them (Twin Otters) here and have the work done here,” Mash said. “We hire more mechanics to help with the work.”
Iosabata Namakan, CEO of Air Kiribati, said the first Twin Otter delivered by CAAMS has been working the company’s domestic routes since work was finished by CAAMS.
“The first one is working okay,” Namakan said. “It’s very suitable for the island and we’ve been very happy with it.”
Namakan said Air Kiribati is hoping to upgrade its fleet to Twin Otter aircraft because they are easily maintained and are conducive to the flight routes for the airline.
The Twin Otter holds 20 passengers and a crew of two. With a full passenger load, it can fly for approximately four hours.
The Twin Otter sold Monday will go into full-time service, replacing a Chinese-built Y-12. Namakan said the Y-12 will remain in the Air Kiribati fleet as a back-up.
“Hopefully, once we get the second one, it will improve the service to all the islands and we hope to improve the framing of our schedule,” Namakan said.
Mash said the intended delivery date is the beginning of April 2012.
“We’re planning to have this one done in three months before sending it to be painted,” Mash said.