De Havilland confirmed on Wednesday that it will suspend production of the Dash 8-400 turboprop “beyond currently confirmed orders”. The manufacturer, however, did not disclose how many aircraft are still pending delivery or when this will actually happen – the decision will affect about 500 employees.
The Dash 8 program was acquired by Longview, De Havilland parent company, in 2018 from Bombardier, which entered into a leasing agreement for the turboprop assembly line in Downsview (Canada) until 2021. As a result, the planemaker confirmed that after the completion of the assembly of pending orders, will transfer the production of the aircraft to another location.
“There are a number of excellent production site options in Canada, and the company will be ready to meet new aircraft demand as the industry recovers,” said De Havilland.
“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,” said David Curtis, Executive Chairman of Longview Aviation Capital.
Dash 8 improvements
De Havilland has reinforced its commitment to Dash 8 customers while the regional aviation market remains uncertain. The company said it will invest in the turboprop platform in order to improve the aircraft in terms of operating costs.
The Canadian planemaker also intends to offer a package for cargo conversion, as well as cabin refurbishment programs such as the overhead bin extension, as well as other non-detailed improvements that will “prepare Dash 8 fleets for the aviation industry’s move to greater sustainability.”
Crisis at Bombardier
The Dash 8 was one of the countless assets that Bombardier sold in recent years in an attempt to reduce its losses. The Canadian company had acquired the entire line of aircraft from De Havilland Canada in 1992 after a brief period in which the manufacturer belonged to Boeing.
In 2006, Viking Air, part of the Longview group, acquired the production rights for DHC aircraft with the exception of the Dash 8 turboprops, which ended up being negotiated only in 2018, already at the height of the Bombardier crisis.