Diamond Aircraft Suspends D-Jet Program

 - March 29, 2011, 10:00 AM

Diamond Aircraft temporarily suspended its D-Jet single-engine jet program yesterday after a $35 million loan from the Canadian government failed to materialize. The company also laid off 213 employees associated with the program at its London, Ontario facility. “We are disappointed and frustrated in the extreme to have to take this action,” said Peter Maurer, president of Diamond Aircraft’s North American division. “We had deferred these cost-cutting measures as long as possible, while awaiting a positive response to our request for a federal government loan. At this time we are still awaiting a formal response.” According to the OEM, the D-Jet program is more than 60 percent complete, but increased program costs and delays coupled with the recent downturn in the general aviation industry have forced the company to seek additional external funding. The Canadian government loaned Diamond $19.5 million for the jet program in 2008, but it needed the additional $35 million to push the program to the certification finish line, Maurer said. London, Ontario mayor Joe Fontana complained earlier this month that the House of Commons is dragging its feet in approving the loan, which helped to move the issue to the foreground. The government is now reviewing the $35 million loan, but has yet to approve it. Maurer said the laid-off workers could be recalled and the D-Jet program reinstated if the federal government comes through.