This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Workers at De Havilland Canada began returning to work on Monday after the company reopened its Dash 8-400 plant in Toronto. The first phase of the resumption of operations saw 100 employees return to work, concentrating on pre-flight activities and deliveries. In a statement issued on May 4, the company said the phased return to work reflects market demand following the temporary suspension of manufacturing operations on March 20 to support international efforts to mitigate the effects of Covid-19. The suspension of production affected 800 De Havilland employees, or 65 percent of the Toronto workforce.
During the six-week pause in production and delivery of new Dash 8-400 turboprops, De Havilland Canada teams, most working remotely, continued to provide customer support and technical services to owners and operators of Dash 8 Series airplanes around the world. The company said team members continue to respond to numerous requests relating to the reconfiguration of Dash 8 aircraft to support aerial transport services and the delivery of essential cargo during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the company announced on April 23 that Transport Canada approved a new Simplified Package Freighter configuration designed to quickly transform the Dash 8-400 aircraft passenger cabin to carry light freight. De Havilland Canada has prepared a service bulletin that provides instructions on implementing the reconfiguration.
The company also has recently made available the De Havilland Component Solutions program, which provides component management support Dash 8-400 operators. On April 28, the company delivered the first Dash 8-400 aircraft since the suspension of manufacturing operations.
“In harmony with ongoing efforts to curtail the effects of Covid-19, De Havilland Canada is glad to start welcoming our employees back to work to resume aircraft pre-flight activities and prepare for upcoming deliveries to our customers,” said De Havilland Canada chief operating officer Todd Young. "The health and safety of our employees, customers, and suppliers is of the utmost priority and as such, we will continue to work closely with government agencies and the custodian of the Toronto Site, to ensure that protocols and processes are in place for a safe operational environment."
Young added that De Havilland Canada would adjust the business to reflect market demand now and into the “foreseeable future.”
“We will proactively manage costs and streamline our operations in all areas of the business," he concluded.