De Havilland Aircraft Departs Downsview Airport

 - June 21, 2022, 11:22 AM
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada employees and retirees gather next to a 1956 De Havilland Canada DHC-2T Viking Turbo Beaver at a celebration held on June 11, 2022, marking 93 years at Toronto Downsview Airport before moving company offices to nearby Pearson Airport. (Photo: Kenneth Swartz)

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) invited thousands of its employees and retirees to Toronto Downsview Airport on June 11 to pay tribute the people that made the company a success before saying goodbye to its home for the past 93 years. The company also displayed a selection of its iconic aircraft at the event, including the DH-82C Tiger Moth, DHC-1 Chipmunk, DHC-2 Beaver, DHC-2 Mk III Turbo Beaver, DHC-3T Turbo Otter, DHC-4T Turbo Caribou, Dash 7, Twin Otter Series 400, and Dash 8-400.

The seed for the celebration was planted in 2019, when Longview Aviation Capital bought the Dash 8 aircraft program from Bombardier knowing that the latter company had already sold the 148-hectare site and the runway would close around 2023. In March, the last Downsview-built Dash 8-400 was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines.

DHC has moved its Toronto staff to new offices at nearby Pearson Airport, where the engineering team is working with DHC employees across Canada to launch of production of the DHC-515 Firefighter (née CL-515) in Calgary, Alberta, where DHC also manufactures the Twin Otter Series 400. The company recently secured an order for 23 DHC-515s from several European government customers. 

While DHC has made the move, Bombardier still needs to transfer production of the Global 5500, 6500, and 7500 to its new $400 million, 770,000-sq-ft factory it expects to open next year at Toronto Pearson Airport.