The De Havilland name returned to aviation earlier this week as Longview Aviation Capital Corp. formally took ownership of Bombardier’s Dash-8 program and immediately went back to the aircraft’s roots. The current iteration, the Q400, will be built under the De Havilland Aircraft of Canada name at the existing Downsview factory until at least 2023. The original De Havilland designed and built some of Canada’s most iconic aircraft at Downsview until the federal government sold it to Boeing in 1986. Bombardier bought it from Boeing in 1992, selling more than 1,000 Dash-8 variants. Only the Q400 remains in production. Bombardier and Longview, which is the parent company of Viking Aircraft, reached a deal last year for Longview to acquire the Dash-8, including the current factory and about 1,200 employees.
The legacy wasn’t lost on Longview Chairman Dave Curtis, who built Viking from maintenance provider specializing in Beavers and Otters to its current status as one of Canada’s largest aircraft manufacturers. “The iconic De Havilland name dates back almost 100 years, and is responsible for some of the most renowned aircraft in aviation history,” he said. “The combination of the Dash 8 with the existing Longview Aviation Capital portfolio unites the entire De Havilland product line under the same banner for the first time in decades. With a new corporate identity that draws on the rich brand heritage, we are excited about the opportunities we see ahead for this company, and for the Dash 8 aircraft.”
Longview now owns the type certificates to the full line of De Havilland’s Canadian products along with the CL-215 and CL-415 water bombers it bought off Bombardier three years ago. It’s now converting some of the piston-powered 215 models into a modernized version of the 415 with an eye to returning them to production. Meanwhile, it will operate the Q400 factory under the new nameplate. “We are thrilled to assume responsibility for this exceptional aircraft program, and welcome the more than 1,200 professionals that are joining De Havilland Aircraft of Canada from Bombardier,” said David Curtis, chairman, Longview Aviation Capital. “We aim to enhance the tradition of excellence around this aircraft by ensuring we continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers, with a focus on the cost competitiveness of these aircraft across the lifespan, from production to parts and in-service support.”