De Havilland Aircraft of Canada told customers there will be no service interruptions now that its parent company has completed the acquisition of the Dash 8 program from Bombardier.

Longview Aviation Capital finalized the process June 1 and resurrected the de Havilland brand by establishing the new subsidiary. De Havilland Aircraft will continue to produce the Q400 regional turboprop and support the more than 1,000 Dash 8-100/200/300s that are in service. 

The company is focused on a smooth transition, Longview chairman David Curtis said at the Paris Air Show June 18.

De Havilland COO Todd Young said the company is working to build a solid backlog of orders for the Q400, which has been outsold in recent years by the Franco-Italian ATR 72. The current backlog gives De Havilland sufficient work until mid- to late 2020, he said, adding that the company hoped to announce new orders “in the very near future.”

Regions such as Africa—where longer sector lengths give the faster Dash 8 an advantage over the ATR—will be prime targets, as well as Southeast Asia and what Young described as the company’s “fortress markets” of North America and Europe.

“We do have some work to do with the existing customer base. The transition posed some questions around the future of the program, so a key focus here at the airshow is to meet our customers and assure them,” he said.

De Havilland will be “focusing on the cost-competitiveness” of Q400 production and support, Curtis said. On the future of the Downsview, Ontario, production site, he said land lease agreements run to 2023. “Over the course of the next 12 to 24 months we will be looking at all our options,” he added.

At the show, Longview announced TAAG Angola Airlines as a previously undisclosed Q400 customer. TAAG’s order for six aircraft was placed in March.

The new aircraft will be used primarily on domestic routes in the southwestern African nation. Currently, TAAG uses five Boeing 737-700s for domestic services, which Angola’s transport minister Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu told ATW was “not the appropriate plane.”

The Dash 8s will be used on sectors as short as 30 to 45 min., primarily along the country’s coastal zone, which supports the bulk of the population. Longer flights to several smaller airports in the hinterland will also be served.

 “A lot of people travel by air because roads don’t function very efficiently,” TAAG CEO Rui Carreira said. “The new aircraft will be used to support small communities and to increase flight frequencies.”

De Havilland also announced June 18 that it had delivered its first Q400 under its new corporate identity, to Kazakhstan-based Qazaq Air. It is Qazaq’s fifth example of the type.

Alan Dron, alandron@adepteditorial.com