Diamond is planning to bring its DA52 piston twin to the market in the second half of 2014 and says that the Austro AE300-powered aircraft is its key focus. The first production confirming aircraft is earmarked for first flight in July, says Diamond Aircraft chief executive Christian Dries. "We will begin taking orders when are confident that we can certificate and deliver the aircraft when we say we can," he adds.

The €860,000 ($1.12 million) DA52 is pitched against established piston twins such as the Beechcraft Baron and the Piper Seneca.

The DA52 sits at the top of Diamond's piston-engined line and will be targeted at owner flyers and commercial operators across the globe. "It will make an ideal aircraft for the air taxi market with its seven seats, big comfortable cabin and ample baggage area," Dries adds.

The aircraft has a cruise speed of 190kt (352km/h) and a range of 2,300km (1,240nm).

Meanwhile, Dries is considering transferring production of the HK36 and DV20 Katana singles to China to cut costs. The duo - both to be re-engined with the 120hp (89.5kW) Austro rotary engine in the next 12 months - are now built at Diamond's Wiener Neustadt facility in Austria. "Labour costs are just so expensive on these aircraft," says Dries. "Labour accounts for around 55% of every HK36 we build, compared to only 15% of a DA40."

Source: Flight International