De Havilland Canada Announces Site of New Alberta Aircraft Manufacturing Facility

CALGARY, AB, Sept. 21, 2022 /CNW/ – De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited has announced that the site of its new aircraft manufacturing facility will be in Wheatland County, Alberta, approximately 30 minutes east of Calgary.

This new facility will be called De Havilland Field and will consist of a new, state-of-the-art aircraft assembly facility, runway, parts manufacturing and distribution centres and maintenance repair and overhaul centre. In addition, educational space for training the workforce of the future is planned as well as general office buildings and a De Havilland Canada aircraft museum.

These operations will complement our current parts manufacturing facilities in Victoria, British Columbia as well as our new engineering and customer support centre of excellence in Toronto, Ontario.

De Havilland Field will be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft which was launched earlier this year, the DHC-6 Twin Otter as well as the Dash 8-400 aircraft.  We are currently working towards bringing the DHC-6 Twin Otter and Dash 8-400 aircraft back into production.

The location of De Havilland Field is ideal, having access to a large, young and diverse labour pool in Alberta, family-friendly cost of living, and a world-class international airport that can support efficient parts distribution to our global customer base.  We anticipate that once in full operation, there will be up to 1500 jobs located at De Havilland Field.

The development of De Havilland Field is subject to an amendment to the Wheatland County Area Structure Plan as well as re-zoning by the County.  De Havilland expects to submit these applications shortly and is committed to working with Wheatland County and Wheatland County residents as we move through the Area Structure Plan and re-zoning processes.  In addition, there are approval processes required by Transport Canada and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. More information about De Havilland Field, De Havilland Canada, these processes and our project timeline can be found at www.dehavillandfield.com 

Quotes:

Brian Chafe
Chief Executive Officer, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

“De Havilland Field will be the home of assembly and production of reliable and rugged Canadian aircraft that serve missions around the world.  This is the start of a new chapter for both De Havilland Canada and Canadian aerospace and we are excited about beginning the process with Wheatland County to provide new aviation opportunities for Canada and Alberta.”

Hon. Davor Bozinovic
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Government of Croatia

“In these challenging times when climate change is affecting us all on a global level, Croatia views De Havilland’s new aircraft production facilities in Calgary as a sure sign of partnership when it comes to combatting the consequences of devastating forest fires.  The Canadian firefighting aircraft at our disposal have indeed proven to be a ‘mighty weapon’ for both Croatia and our neighbouring countries to which we provide assistance, successfully safeguarding both people and property from fires.  That is why I wish to extend my congratulations to the De Havilland leadership on this challenging feat and I also hope that purchasing the latest series of firefighting aircraft is soon to follow.”

Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, PC, MP 
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Government of Canada

“Canada’s aerospace sector is a cornerstone of our economy and with world leading companies like De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, we’re seeing even more growth with today’s announcement. This new facility in Alberta will mean more Canadian jobs, greater economic opportunities, and a brighter future for our country.”

Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MLA
Premier of Alberta, Government of Alberta

“This is a huge announcement for the Alberta economy, a game-changing investment for Alberta manufacturing and our burgeoning aviation sector. Thank you to De Havilland Canada for your confidence in Alberta as the best place for this state-of-the-art plant that will employ some 1,500 people in good paying jobs. Alberta’s economy is diversifying like never before, and with today’s announcement we have more evidence of the huge growth in manufacturing and aviation.”

Hon. Tanya Fir, MLA
Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Government of Alberta

“Alberta’s Recovery Plan is working. As part of the plan, we identified aviation, aerospace and logistics as key industries for investment attraction and diversification. Today, we’re seeing our efforts come to fruition. De Havilland Aircraft of Canada is expanding to Alberta, where we have the fastest and freest economy in North America, one of the lowest corporate tax rates, and a young and talented workforce.”

Bobby Kwan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Commercial Corporation

“As Canada’s government-to-government (G2G) contracting agency, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) takes immense pride in the partnership we’ve developed with De Havilland over the past 15 years to sell aircraft to governments around the world. Helping Canadian companies identify and enter new, complex markets through G2G sales is not only CCC’s mandate, it’s also our passion.”

Amber Link
Reeve, Division 2 Councillor, Wheatland County

“Wheatland County is thrilled to work with De Havilland Canada to build their permanent home in Alberta. We are excited to have the opportunity to cultivate a strong aviation culture that will diversify our economy and lead to the creation of 1,500 jobs for residents of Wheatland County and the surrounding areas. This milestone is one that both Wheatland County and the Province of Alberta can be proud of. De Havilland Canada’s corporate values align perfectly with Wheatland County, where innovation meets tradition. We are open for business and look forward to continuing to work with the team at De Havilland Canada.”

About De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

With more than 5,000 aircraft delivered, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (De Havilland Canada) is well established across the globe and our talented team of aviation professionals is dedicated to advancing our near-100-year reputation for excellence in innovation, production and customer support. Our aircraft operate reliably in some of the world’s harshest climates and provide vital connections between rural communities and urban centres – transporting essential cargo and millions of passengers annually. Our aircraft also support a wide variety of special mission operations including aerial firefighting, search and rescue, medical evacuation, reconnaissance and coastal surveillance. In February 2022, De Havilland Canada became the operating brand for the companies that previously operated as Longview Aviation, Viking Air Ltd, Pacific Sky Training and De Havilland Canada. https://dehavilland.com

Frequently Asked Questions

De Havilland Field Questions

Where is the site of the proposed facility?

The proposed site is between Range Roads 264 and 265 and south of the Trans-Canada Highway in Wheatland County, Alberta. 

How big is the site?

We have acquired approximately 1500 acres in the area.

When will you submit your rezoning applications?

We anticipate submitting our application to amend the Area Structure Plan and begin the re-zoning process later this week.

When do you expect to start construction?

We hope to start construction shortly after the Area Structure Plan has been amended and the sites have been re-zoned which could be as early as late 2023.

When will De Havilland Field be finished?

The full build-out of De Havilland Field will take many years and will be dependent, in part, on the growth trajectory of the company.  Under a conservative scenario, we would anticipate an approximate ten-to-fifteen year construction schedule for the entire campus.  However, in the short term, we would expect that the first buildings could be operational by 2025.

How many construction jobs will be created?

At this point it is difficult to say with any accuracy how many construction jobs will be created but we expect that several hundred workers will be required in 2024 to ensure the campus is built per our aircraft demand.

What will you do while De Havilland Field is being built?

De Havilland Canada currently has production facilities in Calgary that are able to produce Twin Otters and a number of DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft per year.  As production needs grow, we will need to move production to De Havilland Field.

De Havilland Canada Questions

When will aircraft assembly start?

If our Area Structure Plan application and re-zoning are approved within the expected timeframe and construction goes well, we could see aircraft production begin as early as 2025.

When will the Twin Otter resume production?

We are currently undertaking a significant review of the DHC-6 Twin Otter to ensure our product is meeting market demand.  We expect this review to be complete by the end of the year at which point we will be able to make a decision with respect to future Twin Otter production.

When do you expect the Dash 8-400 to resume production?

The aviation industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It appears that air travel demand is rebounding which is putting grounded aircraft back into service.  Once we have completed our review of the DHC-6 Twin Otter, we will begin our Dash 8 review to determine a path to resuming production.

Are you worried about attracting employees/staff?

Like all employers, De Havilland Canada is facing stiff competition for skilled talent.  We are putting in place recruitment and attraction strategies to make sure that we have the skills we need to build our aircraft and serve our customers.  Currently, we are working with the government of Alberta to ensure the skills we need are being developed in educational institutions in the province.

Will the Head Office be at De Havilland Field?

Yes.  We expect that the De Havilland Canada Head Office will be located at De Havilland Field.

Will the Twin Otter Simulator move to De Havilland Field?

No.  The Twin Otter simulator that is currently located near the Calgary International Airport will remain in its current location due to the difficulty in moving the electronics and equipment contained within the simulator.