Hangzhou, China-based Wanfeng Aviation Industry has purchased Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries. In late 2016, Wanfeng acquired a 60-percent stake in Diamond’s manufacturing operation in Canada as well as rights to manufacture the seven-passenger DA62 twin and four-passenger DA40 single. The acquisition includes aero-diesel engine manufacturer Austro Engine.
Wanfeng Aviation is part of Wanfeng Auto Holding Group. The aviation division includes a Part 135 charter operation, an aircraft management service, and a Part 145 maintenance facility. The company operates an Embraer Phenom 100E and Bombardier Challenger 605, and plans call for expansion into aircraft manufacturing, airport management, flight training, and other general aviation operations. Under Wanfeng’s ownership, work will continue on new Diamond models, including the diesel-powered, five-seat DA50 and the Dart turboprop military trainer.
“We were attracted to Diamond’s leadership position in the market,” said Bin Chen, chairman of Wanfeng Aviation Industry and president of the Wanfeng Auto Holding Group. “Under the 25-year leadership of founder Christian Dries, the Diamond team has developed a broad range of superb aircraft that have gained worldwide respect for their performance, efficiency, safety, and innovation. Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond to a long-term leadership position in worldwide general aviation.”
“Diamond is my life’s work,” said former Diamond CEO Dries. “In the interest of a successful long-term future, we needed to find the right partner to continue our good work. Wanfeng and specifically Mr. Bin Chen share my vision of the future of general aviation and are investing for the right reasons, with a long-term strategy and the resources to see their vision through. I look forward to seeing Diamond develop further, and based on our successful year-long partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave Diamond in very good hands.”
According to Wanfeng, Chen will become chairman of Diamond Aircraft Industries, with Frank Zhang as CEO. Dries “will maintain an advisory function to help guide the new ownership and ensure the continued development of Diamond Aircraft Group.”