Sept. 6, 2019, © Leeham News: Nashville—The new de Havilland Canada (DHC) vowed yesterday to revitalize the former Bombardier Dash 8-400 (Q400), the program DHC acquired effective June 1.
Bombardier is selling off and exiting the commercial aviation sector after a series of management miscalculations, cost overruns and thee new airplane programs in commercial and business aviation nearly bankrupted the company.
The Q400 was the first complete airplane program to go. The CRJ program sale is next. A majority interest in the C Series jetliner occurred in 2018.
DHC is a subsidiary of Canada’s Longview Aviation. Another subsidiary, Viking Air, acquired all previous Bombardier-de Havilland programs from the Dash 1 through Dash 7 and CL-Series aerial fire-fighting water bombers.
Sole focus on Q400
Weighed under by mounting costs and delays of the C Series jet development, Bombardier largely ignored investment, sales and support of the Q400 and CRJ.
They made the remarks at the annual conference of the Regional Airline Assn. in Nashville.
DHC bought the program, lock, stock and employees, transferring 1,200 Bombardier Q400 workers to DHC on Day One.
Although Bombardier neglected the Q400 program, DHC is building on its foundation. It’s a steep hill to climb.
Rival ATR has 80%-85% of the turboprop backlog (excluding fringe OEMs in China and Russia). ATR actively supported the secondary market for its turboprops while Bombardier didn’t.
Poutissou, at one time VP of marketing for Bombardier who left in one of several management shake-ups, will change this at DHC.
In between Bombardier and DHCV, Poutissou was an executive at a turboprop lessor. This gave him insight about ATR and its approach he didn’t have at Bombardier, he told LNA.
Additionally, DHC is going to up its game with current operators, another area of neglect by Bombardier, Poutissou said.
“The focus is on stabilizing the business,” COO Young said.
DHC’s backlog goes to October 2020. “We’re focused on building beyond that,” Young said. “We’re focusing on worldwide customer support.”
The Q400 is the only Dash 8 in production, but there are hundreds of smaller Dash 8-100s/200s/300s in service. With no replacement airplane of similar size in production, DHC is following on and continuing a service life extension program implemented by Bombardier.
The Dash 8-200 life has been extended from 80,000 cycles to 120,000 cycles.
New options, uses for Q400
DHC revealed a 50-passenger configuration for the Q400, like that created by Bombardier at the request of Trans States Airlines, an operator for United Airlines, to reconfigure the CRJ700 to 50 passengers and called the CRJ550.
The Q400 50-seat version provides ample carry-on luggage space to avoid gate checks. Poutissou claims economics of the reduced configuration will beat the CRJ550.
The Q400 already is operated in fire-fighting tanker and military surveillance versions. DHC will push to expand these uses.