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Longview completes Dash 8 buy and forms De Havilland Aircraft

Longview Aviation Capital has completed its acquisition of the Dash 8 turboprop line from Bombardier and placed the programme into a newly formed holding company called De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

The holding company revives the de Havilland name in Canada, and the $300 million purchase brings the Dash 8-100, -200, -300 and the in-production Q400 into Longview's portfolio.

Longview also owns Sidney, British Columbia-based aircraft manufacturer Viking Air and type certificates for seven former de Havilland Canada aircraft lines, including the in-production DHC-6-400 Twin Otter turboprop. It also owns the CL water bomber aircraft programme, a former Canadair product that Viking bought from Bombardier.

De Havilland Aircraft is headed by chief operating officer Todd Young, who had managed the Q400 programme for Bombardier, where he worked for some 30 years.

De Havilland Aircraft will "operate the worldwide Dash 8 aircraft business", including Q400 production and support of the other models, it says in a media release.

The work will continue at the Downsview site in Toronto until at least 2023, when lease agreements for that land expire, De Havilland Aircraft says. Bombardier sold that facility to Canadian pension manager Public Sector Pension Investment Board in June 2018.

De Havilland Aircraft inherits a backlog that stands at 51 Q400s, according to Cirium's Fleets Analyzer.

“We are excited to begin the next chapter for this aircraft programme and to share the De Havilland Aircraft of Canada brand with the world,” says Young in a release.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

"Nearly all of the previous Downsview workforce, and all existing union agreements, have transitioned to De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, ensuring operational continuity and a seamless transition for customers," says De Havilland.

Montreal-based Bombardier confirms it sold the Dash 8 programme for $300 million but says debts, fees and other closing expenses will reduce net proceeds to $250 million.

"Bombardier will provide transitional services and will license certain intellectual property to Longview to facilitate a seamless transition of the Q Series aircraft programme," Bombardier says.

The sale leaves the CRJ programme as Bombardier's only commercial aircraft. The company has recently shifted to greater focus on business aircraft.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare has said the company will continue seeking "strategic options" for the CRJ – language widely read by analysts to mean Bombardier wants to sell the programme.

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