From the range, the Dash 8-400 aircraft remains in production.
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada will not produce new Dash 8-400 aircraft at its Downsview site beyond currently confirmed orders. But it has reaffirmed its long-term commitment to the type and outlined the path forward for support and production. While the pandemic has ravaged the global aviation industry, De Havilland Canada is making investments in its organisation, systems and infrastructure to enhance the Dash 8 platform for current and future aircraft operators.
"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," says David Curtis, Executive Chairman of Longview Aviation Capital, De Havilland Canada's parent company. "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."
De Havilland Canada's objective is to resume new aircraft delivery at the earliest possible time, subject to market demand.
The Downsview production site was sold by the previous owner Bombardier in 2018, with deadlines for the site and runway to be decommissioned. Pursuant to Bombardier's sale agreement, the Dash 8 program's current site lease expires in 2021. Accordingly, De Havilland Canada has begun preparing to leave the site over the latter part of the year. 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.
"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," adds Curtis. "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 is investing in the Customer Services and Support team, distribution network and information technology to reduce the operating cost of the Dash 8 platform, developing upgrades and modifications to the Dash 8, including packages that create a best-in-class freighter with unmatched operating and financial attributes, introducing cabin refurbishment features such as an overhead bin extension solution which improves the cost-efficiency of in-service Dash 8, and actively innovating across the aircraft platform, including product improvements that will reduce operating and ownership costs and help prepare Dash 8 fleets for the aviation industry's move to greater sustainability.
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