The pandemic is forcing manufacturers to take stock and see how they can optimise their production and workflows. De Havilland of Canada is in the same boats, with them pausing production of the Dash8-Q400
In a statement they said:
Given that prevailing industry circumstances have hindered the ability to confirm new aircraft sales, De Havilland Canada will not produce new Dash 8-400 aircraft at its Downsview site beyond currently confirmed orders. This is a responsible and prudent measure that reflects current industry conditions and will limit strain on the market and De Havilland Canada’s supply base as the pandemic recovery occurs. Approximately 500 employees will be affected by the production pause.
De Havilland Canada’s objective is to resume new aircraft delivery at the earliest possible time, subject to market demand.
Investing in the Dash 8 platform
Whilst production will be heading to a pause, De Havilland Canada will still be working on the product, with investment in its Customer Services and Support team, distribution network and information technology to reduce the operating cost of the Dash 8 platform.
It will also develop upgrades and modifications to the Dash 8, including packages that create a best-in-class freighter with unmatched operating and financial attributes, as well as looking to cabin upgrades such as an overhead bin extension solution which improves the cost-efficiency of in-service Dash 8.
The aim is to reduce operating and ownership costs and help prepare Dash 8 fleets for the aviation industry’s move to greater sustainability.
Meanwhile, its Downsview Production Site is facing pressure, with deadlines for the site and runway to be decommissioned. With the lease expiring in 202, De Havilland Canada has begun preparing to leave the site over the latter part of the year. A new site has not been identified yet.
David Curtis, Executive Chairman of Longview Aviation Capital, De Havilland Canada’s parent company 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,” said
“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.”
On the production at Downsview, he added
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.”
Hope for the future
With order books drying up, and limited aircraft to manufacture – for now, it seems Longview Aviation and De Havilland of Canada is pushing the pause button, whilst it attempts to add value to existing customers who have brought into the platform – be it in cargo configurations or passenger builds.
With a move to a new home on the cards too – coming to a production pause may work in their favour, as they build out a new base, where they can restart production of the type when times improve
And there is certainly a place for Turboprops in the future – with routes being a lot thinner than they were before the pandemic. Something that Turboprops can fill-in if marketed correctly.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.
Also remember that we are part of the BoardingArea community, bringing you the latest frequent flyer news from around the world.