Diamond Aircraft president Peter Maurer has obtained "commitment for a significant investment exclusively dedicated" to the company's flagship single-engined D-Jet development programme.
When finalised, the investment from an unnamed source will allow the company to begin recalling some of the 213 employees it had laid off in March after the Canadian government denied a $35 million loan that was to be matched by Ontario province. An additional $20 million had been promised by private investment sources, but all three were contingent on Diamond securing the total $90 million needed to finish the certification programme.
Maurer said the bridge funding will provide the cashflow to "rehire people and make some progress on the D-Jet", a programme that has been five years in flight testing. Longer-term financing to complete the programme, perhaps from Ontario and private investors, continues to be a primary focus for Maurer.
© Diamond Aircraft
"What this initial investment does for us is that it allows us to move forward," he said. "It takes some of the intense pressure off and gives us some breathing room to work through [many parallel investment paths]. Which one we'll finally end up taking we don't know."
The initial investment is "substantial", said Maurer, and will allow for certain key certification items to restart, possibly including tooling development, building D-Jet number 4, the first conforming aircraft complete with pressurisation, and restarting flight tests with aircraft 2 and 3 within the next month or sooner.
Diamond has kept 28 employees working on the D-Jet programme through the furlough and has 180 employees building its piston-powered aircraft in Canada. Maurer hopes to eventually bring a significant number of D-Jet workers back to avoid a "brain drain" on the programme.
"We're finalising the deal now," he said of the investment. "We just have to work through some closing conditions."
Source: Flight International