De Havilland suspends production of the Q400


The aircraft manufacturer De Havilland Canada (DHC) will suspend production of its Dash-8 Q400 turboprop aircraft, once the 17 aircraft still awaiting delivery have been assembled, with the resumption of the FAL only having to take place in the event of a new order. . Eleven planes of the late Flybe will be converted into water bombers.

Launched on the regional aviation market in 1983 by De Havilland, taken over by Bombardier and then sold by the latter at the end of 2018 to Longview Aircraft Company (Viking Air), is the Canadian competitor of European ATRs dying? With a backlog of 17 devices, among others intended for Ethiopian Airlines or TAAG, plus two for anonymous customers (whitetails whose assembly is not guaranteed), and a significant number much larger at leasing companies – without forgetting some 186 planes grounded due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the prospect of a market recovery appears very remote for De Havilland. Its Q400s are also selling less well than competing ATRs (175 72-600 in backlog), with the last order recorded in 2019 by Air Tanzania. Suppliers would have already been notified.

The Toronto FAL is also according to Leeham News facing another problem: the end of its leasing contract in 2023. DHC has not yet decided between a move to its base in Calgary and the contract extension; « DHC’s current goal is to help airlines get the Dash 8 back into service, » said Philippe Poutissou, vice president of sales and marketing.

Canadian firefighting specialist Conair Group Inc. has also acquired eleven Q400s from the late Flybe, the first to be delivered by the end of the month according to FlightGlobal. All will be converted to Q400AT water bomber and will join a fleet of 70 aircraft, already including 19 in addition to Avro RJ85 and Convair 580 (four Q400MRs are deployed in France).

« This purchase represents the largest investment Conair has made to date in developing a fleet of next-generation aircraft designed to better fight forest fires for years to come, » the Canadian company said.

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