Wanfeng Aviation Canada – a subsidiary of Chinese company Wanfeng Auto Holding – has acquired a 60% stake in Diamond Aircraft Industries Canada. The purchase is intended to inject much-needed investment into the London, Ontario-based company, allowing it to pursue new product development and evaluate a possible revival of the D-JET personal jet programme.
As part of the deal, Wanfeng, a manufacturer of parts for both the car and aviation industries, has secured the rights to the DA62 six-seat piston-twin and DA40 four-seat piston single programmes from Diamond’s independently owned Austrian sibling Diamond Aircraft Industries. Production of the two models will be transferred to Ontario in 2017.
Diamond Austria, based in Wiener Neustadt, near Vienna, will continue to produce the twin-engined DA42 and the Austro diesel engine family, for which it is the sole owner. The firm will also concentrate on bringing new products to market, including the Dart-450 aerobatic trainer and DA50 turboprop singles.
“Diamond Austria remains completely independent,” Diamond Canada stresses, adding that the venture will continue to “assist with production and development activities” at the Ontario site. This could include the resurrection of the single-engined D-JET and the launch of derivative aircraft, both of which Diamond says are “subject to ongoing review”.
The D-JET was mothballed by Diamond in 2013, after it failed to secure enough funding to complete development. Nearly $200 million had been sunk into the project since its genesis in 2005, and three prototypes had amassed more than 700 flying hours when it was shelved.
Diamond Canada says Wanfeng’s investment “will support expanded production, sales and service activities globally”, with a stronger focus on the USA, the world’s largest business and general aviation market.
“This investment not only strengthens our Canadian operations, but the Diamond brand overall,” says Diamond Canada. “We look forward to continued exciting developments, growth in all markets and enhancing the ownership experience for Diamond owners and operators in the years to come.”
Source: Flight International