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The Bombardier 415, also known as the SuperScooper, takes 12 seconds to scoop its 6,137-litre load while skimming at high speed over water

Victoria-based Viking Air Limited acquires amphibious unit from iconic Canadian manufacturer

Bombardier will continue to make planes, trains and snowmobiles—but no more water bombers, thanks to a deal it’s inked with Viking Air Ltd. The North Saanich-area company has purchased Bombardier’s water bomber division which includes product support, parts and service for a fleet of 170 planes based in 11 countries around the world. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The division is built around the Bombardier CL-415 amphibious water bomber—also known as the SuperScooper—and its predecessors, the CL-215 and CL-215T. The aircraft, designed and built in Canada for the past five decades, is the only purpose-built plane for firefighting made by a European or North American firm.

"This acquisition expands Viking's capabilities in product support and parts into another vital niche aviation segment and ensures that a unique and important Canadian innovation stays in Canada," said David Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Viking. "We are proud to add another iconic Canadian aircraft program to Viking's stable."

As part of the deal, Viking will acquire manufacturing rights for all of Bombardier’s amphibious aircraft and open a new 50,000-square-foot facility for the division at Calgary International Airport. The company, which employs 88 people in Calgary and 330 at its headquarters in Victoria, plans to add up to 40 people to its workforce in both locations.

Viking currently manufactures the Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, and its business includes maintenance and servicing of the amphibious plane. The company has manufactured and sold around 150 new aircraft since it launched that program in 2007.

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