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  • Joe Breitfeller

De Havilland Canada Will Pause Dash 8-400 Production at Downsview Site, 500 Employees Impacted

The company will not produce new Dash 8-400s at their Downsview site beyond currently confirmed orders. The lease on the facility expires in 2021 and the company will leave during the latter part of the year, as they scout new locations for future production.

De Havilland Canada to Pause Dash 8-400 Production - Courtesy De Havilland Canada

On Wednesday (February 17, 2021), De Havilland Canada announced that they would pause production of the Dash 8-400 at their Downsview site by year’s end. The company will not produce the aircraft at the facility beyond currently confirmed orders and 500 employees will be affected by the production pause. The Downsview production site was sold by Bombardier in 2018 and the lease for the site expires in 2021. De Havilland Canada has started to prepare to leave the site and expects to depart in the latter part of the year. The company hopes to resume new aircraft delivery as soon as market conditions improve and will scout for a new facility for future production. In Wednesday’s announcement, Longview Aviation Capital’s Executive Chairman, David Curtis, said,

“We fully expect worldwide demand for the Dash 8 to return once the industry has recovered from the pandemic, and the aircraft’s characteristics – including low operating costs, low emissions impact, and performance capabilities that support efficient regional operations – will make the Dash 8 an important part of the aviation industry’s post-pandemic recovery. The quality of the aircraft is demonstrated by the fact that we have significantly outperformed our competitors since the onset of the pandemic, delivering 11 aircraft to customers in 2020. While industry conditions remain challenging, we are looking to the future by enhancing our ability to support Dash 8 operators, and taking the necessary organizational steps to ensure we are ready to meet industry demand as the aviation industry recovers.

“The transition from Downsview is a step in the planned evolution of the Dash 8 platform away from its former owner, and is an important part of our vision for Longview Aviation Capital as a leading global aviation company. While this evolution is taking place against the backdrop of unprecedented industry circumstances, we see a bright future for De Havilland Canada and the Dash 8. The Dash 8 is a segment defining aircraft, and it has never been in better hands – strengthened by being part of a robust aviation portfolio with patient long-term ownership. We are also the only company to have successfully re-launched an out-of-production aircraft, with our team bringing the renowned Series 400 Twin Otter back into production. We are fully committed to the Dash 8 and intend to further enhance its capabilities and performance, and remain a leader of the regional aircraft market of the future.

“We are sensitive to the impact that a production pause will have on our employees, and are committed to treating everyone with transparency and respect. This decision is no reflection on the quality of our team, which has performed exceedingly well through the disruptions of the past year.”

The company has reaffirmed their commitment to the global Dash 8 operator community and continues to make investments in its organization, systems and infrastructure to enhance the platform for current and future operators. De Havilland Canada is investing significant capital in their Customer Services and Support team, distribution network and IT to reduce the operating cost of the Dash 8 program. The company also continues to develop upgrades and modifications to the Dash 8, including freighter conversion packages and cabin refurbishment features such as overhead bin extensions. De Havilland Canada continues to provide 24/7/365 customer support and maintains an inventory of over 35,000 part numbers to serve the operating fleet from distribution facilities in Canada and around the world.

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited was established when Longview Aviation Capital acquired the Dash 8 aircraft program from Bombardier. The company’s portfolio includes worldwide support for the fleet of Dash 8-100/200/300/400 aircraft as well as the production and sales of the Dash 8-400. The De Havilland Dash 8-400, which seats up to 90 passengers, is the only turboprop in its class certified to operate at high altitude airports and offers the flexibility to operate with steep approaches as well as the ability to operate from unpaved runways. The aircraft offers a 30% reduction in fuel-burn versus similar capacity regional jets and is around 160 km/h faster than typical turboprops. The Dash 8-400 aircraft has more than 60 customers worldwide in nearly 40 countries.

Source: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada