Hinterland Aviation (OI, Cairns) will become Australia's first operator of the Cessna 408 SkyCourier passenger variant after finalising a purchase agreement with Textron Aviation for two. Hinterland CEO Andrew Clair told ch-aviation that the SkyCourier was the "clear choice" to supplement the carrier's existing fleet of Cessna (single turboprop) Caravans and Beechcraft King Airs.

Hinterland Aviation is a charter and scheduled passenger operator based in North Queensland. Its 12-strong fleet of 12-passenger C208B Caravans operate regular passenger flights around the Torres Strait islands and mainland airports in Queensland's Cape York area. Including charter services, the airline operates over 8,000 flights annually.

"The SkyCourier not only brings added capacity to our existing routes but also extends our network reach, enabling new regional routes, whilst the 19-seat configuration precisely fills a gap in the market," said Clair. "Moreover, at a time when the aviation industry is contending with critical skill shortages in maintenance, a challenge expected to intensify in the future, the SkyCourier distinguishes itself with its simple and robust design."

Clair said he expects the two aircraft to deliver in the second half of 2026. While the serial numbers remain unknown because the aircraft are yet to enter production, Hinterland has reserved the registration numbers VH-A48 and VH-X48 for them. Textron's SkyCourier uses two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines.

Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority records indicate that Hinterland has the following aircraft on the Australian register:

  • Cessna 208B VH-CVN (msn 208B0676);
  • Cessna 208B VH-CZF (msn 208B5056);
  • Cessna 208B VH-ETF (msn 208B1175);
  • Cessna 208B VH-HLL (msn 208B0615);
  • Cessna 208B VH-JES (msn 208B2125);
  • Cessna 208B VH-LZK (msn 208B0991);
  • Cessna 208B VH-MRZ (msn 208B1048);
  • Cessna 208B VH-NDC (msn 208B2215);
  • Cessna 208 VH-NTQ (msn 20800183);
  • Cessna 208B VH-TFQ (msn 208B1216);
  • Cessna 208B VH-TFS (msn 208B1006);
  • Cessna (twin piston) 404 Titan VH-TFU (msn 4040834);
  • Cessna 208B VH-TQV (msn 208B5067);
  • Beech (twin turboprop) King Air B200 VH-HLJ (msn BB945); and
  • Beech B200 King Air VH-HJS (msn BB-1178).