This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Viking Air on Friday suspended their respective production of the Dash 8-400 regional turboprop in Toronto and Twin Otter Series 400 in Victoria, B.C., and Calgary until further notice, as parent company Longview Aviation Capital addresses the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak. Longview said the move would affect 800 De Havilland employees, or 65 percent of the Toronto workforce, and 180 Viking employees, or 40 percent of that Western Canadian workforce.
“Longview and its subsidiaries have been in close communication with customers and suppliers over the last several weeks,” the company said in a written statement. “On the basis of these discussions, and against the backdrop of significantly reduced airline activity, Longview determined that it is necessary to pause all new aircraft production activity at this time. The suspension applies only to new aircraft production.”
Longview added that both De Havilland and Viking will continue to provide full product support and technical services to all in-service aircraft. Meanwhile, all other Longview business activities will continue as usual, it added. They include customer support operations, including parts, and in-service aircraft support; CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter conversions through Longview Aviation Services; and aircraft leasing activity through Longview Aviation Asset Management.
“This is a period of considerable challenge for our industry and for our customers, and we must adapt to this new—hopefully temporary—reality,” said Longview Aviation Captial executive chairman David Curtis. “In this context, we will focus our efforts on supporting our customers’ existing in-service fleets and delivering the other services our companies provide to the global aviation industry. We will remain in close contact with our customers and continue to monitor the evolving situation. We will make further adjustments to our operations as required.”
Longview said it hopes to restart aircraft manufacturing operations as conditions improve, “based upon ongoing local, national and international events and developments.” In the meantime, it said it will remain in frequent contact with customers and will closely monitor and assess market conditions. The company added that both De Havilland and Viking have established business continuity plans and have reorganized working arrangements to prevent the spread of any illness while customer service and product support continues.