De Havilland Canada revealed the construction plans for its new plant. Named De Havilland Field, the facility will be located in Wheatland County, Alberta, 30 minutes from the city of Calgary.
Despite this, the deployment plan will be long and will depend on the growth trajectory of the company, which took over Bombardier aircraft in previous years.
According to DHC, the complete project, which includes several support and production areas, can take up to 15 years to implement. However, the first buildings should be operational from 2025.
Before that, De Havilland will need to approve an amendment to the Wheatland County structural plan in addition to submitting the project to public consultation, which is expected in the first half of 2023.
The land acquired by the manufacturer is huge, with about 6 million m² and which will house an airstrip, buildings for assembly and testing of the planes, parts storage facilities, an area for delivery to customers and offices, among others.
De Havilland’s intention is to produce the DHC-515 fire-fighting aircraft on site as well as the DHC-6 Twin Otter and Dash 8-400 passenger turboprops. These last two still depend on the company’s efforts to make it possible to return to series production.
Currently, the Longview Aviation Capital group, which owns DHC, maintains an assembly line at Calgary International Airport.
End of production in Toronto
“De Havilland Field will be the home of assembly and production of reliable and rugged Canadian aircraft that serves missions around the world. This is the start of a new chapter for both De Havilland Canada and Canadian aerospace and we are excited about beginning the process with Wheatland County to provide new aviation opportunities for Canada and Alberta,” said Brian Chafe, CEO, De Havilland Aircraft.
De Havilland assembled its latest Dash 8s at Bombardier’s Toronto plant, which had to be returned last year. Since then, it has stored the aircraft’s production tooling, waiting for a new location.
De Havilland Canada was recreated in 2019 after Longview acquired the production rights to Bombardier’s Dash 8 family of planes. The group had also taken over other aircraft from the traditional manufacturer such as the DHC-6 Twin Otter, which are currently part of the Viking Air portfolio.
In 2021, DHC announced the resumption of a hybrid propulsion project with Pratt & Whitney Canada that will fly a Dash 8-100 demonstrator in the future.