Hinterland becomes first Australian operator of Cessna SkyCourier

A Cessna SkyCourier in flight.
Photo Credit: Textron

Textron Aviation has firmed a purchase agreement for the first Cessna SkyCourier passenger variant in Australia to Queensland regional airline Hinterland Aviation.

The aircraft, expected to deliver in 2026, will supplement the operator’s existing Cessna Caravan fleet, and marks a significant milestone in regional aviation.

Moreover, the agreement holds substantial implications for regional aviation in Australia, setting a precedent for future developments.

The Aircraft Type and Regional Airlines

The agreement, with regional airline Hinterland Aviation, promises improvements to air transportation for remote communities across the state of Queensland.

The addition of the Cessna SkyCourier to Hinterland Aviation’s fleet brings numerous benefits. With increased payload capacity and seating for passengers, the SkyCourier enhances connectivity in regions where access to reliable air transportation is vital.

This development will not only benefit local communities but also stimulate growth in the tourism and business sectors in Queensland.

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Designed for single pilot operations, it offers a generous payload capacity, making it suitable for various air freight, passenger, and special mission requirements.

Its adaptability ensures maximum flexibility, guaranteeing a significant return on investment for operators.

The aircraft is eminently suited to the rugged conditions involved with Australian regional flight operations in Queensland.

Two Cessna SkyCourier aircraft fly in formation over forest.
Photo Credit: Textron Aviation

Features of the Aircraft…

The Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine, high-wing turboprop offers a combination of performance and lower operating costs for air freight, commuter and special mission operators.

It’s available in both freighter and passenger versions. The 19-passenger variant includes crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for natural light and views.

Both configurations offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.

The freighter variant features a large door and a flat floor cabin that is sized to handle up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of payload capability.

The aircraft is powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley Propeller C779, a heavy-duty and reliable full feathering, reverse pitch four-blade propeller.

The SkyCourier is operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics and has a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 ktas. The SkyCourier has a 900 nautical-mile maximum range.

Lannie O’Bannion, Textron Aviation’s senior vice president of Global Sales and Flight Operations, emphasized the unparalleled capabilities of the SkyCourier.

Its ability to load, fly, and unload with efficiency, coupled with low operating costs and maximum cabin flexibility, makes it a game-changer in regional connectivity.

The Cessna Skycourier parked at dusk.
Photo Credit: Textron

The Aircraft in Hinterland Aviation Operations

Andrew Clair, CEO of Hinterland Aviation, expressed enthusiasm about the purchase, highlighting the SkyCourier’s potential to serve individual client needs and access remote runways.

He anticipates that the aircraft will play a crucial role in expanding the company’s operations and is proud to be the first airline customer in Australia to operate it.

The acquisition of the Cessna SkyCourier aligns with Hinterland Aviation’s commitment to providing reliable flight services to its regional and remote clients.

With seating for up to 19 passengers and access to remote runways, the SkyCourier enhances the airline’s capability to meet diverse transportation needs.

Impact on Australian Aviation Industry

As the first airline customer in Australia to operate the SkyCourier, Hinterland Aviation sets something of a precedent for future advancements in the country’s regional aviation sector.

The introduction of this versatile aircraft opens doors for increased efficiency, reliability, and accessibility in regional air transportation.

It paves the way for potential future orders and expansion, signaling a promising future for both Australian aviation and US manufacturer Textron.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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