De Havilland begins ‘decommissioning’ Downsview production site, but could retain presence

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Jon Hemmerdinger | 17 June 2021

De Havilland Canada has started “decommissioning” its Dash 8-400 manufacturing site in Toronto and will soon pause production, but remains hopeful in retaining some presence at the site in the city’s Downsview section.

Dash 8-400 production is still ongoing as the company works through its remaining order backlog, De Havilland tells FlightGlobal.

“De Havilland Canada will complete the pause process over the next few weeks as these aircraft flow through the line,” it adds. “We have also begun a very methodical process of decommissioning the Downsview facility and capturing and safely securing all of our production jigs, fixtures and equipment to enable an efficient restart when market conditions permit.”

PAL Airlines Dash
Source: PAL Airlines
A PAL Airlines De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop

In February, De Havilland said it would pause Dash 8 production after filling all outstanding orders. In disclosing that decision, which came nearly one year into the Covid-19 pandemic, De Havilland said “industry circumstances have hindered the ability to confirm new aircraft sales”.

De Havilland has 12 Dash 8-400s remaining on order, according to Cirium data.

Also, De Havilland’s lease on the Downsview facility expires this year, and the owner of the facility intends to decommission the site’s adjacent runway by June 2023, De Havilland says.

“However, both the landlords and De Havilland Canada are keen to see the De Havilland name remain at the site and are having discussions to that end,” the company adds. “We hope to have presence at the site for an extended time frame and are in discussions with our current landlord.”

De Havilland does not provide more details.

Bombardier sold the Dash 8 programme in 2019 to De Havilland, a unit of Longview Aviation Capital, for $285 million. Bombardier had been leasing the Downsview site since selling it in 2018 to Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

“We have begun the first phase of our move-out plan with the capture of all of our Dash 8 production equipment,” De Havilland says.

The company is also “progressing on the completion of the carve-out from Bombardier”, investing in three areas to complete that process. Those include investments in information technology and customer support, which will enable the company to “exit Bombardier’s IT network”.

De Havilland is also investing to create its own global parts distribution network and spending money to secure its manufacturing intellectual property ahead of leaving the Downsview site, it says.

“De Havilland Canada is executing a phased plan that will move us back into production once the industry recovers and demand for new aircraft improves,” it adds. “There are many viable locations for a production restart, but until we complete work in subsequent phases we won’t comment.”

David Curtis to Retire as Executive Chairman of Longview Aviation Capital

SIDNEY, BC, June 16, 2021 /CNW/ – Longview Aviation Capital Corp., manager of a portfolio of long-term investments in the Canadian aerospace industry including De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Viking Air Ltd., today announced that David Curtis will be retiring as Executive Chairman, effective August 1, 2021.

David Curtis (CNW Group/Longview Aviation Capital Corp.)
David Curtis (CNW Group/Longview Aviation Capital Corp.)

Mr. Curtis began his tenure with Viking in 1983, becoming President and CEO in 1991. Under his leadership, Viking grew to become a prominent global specialty aircraft company, and the only company to successfully re-launch an out-of-production aircraft, bringing the Series 400 Twin Otter back into production in 2010. He was also instrumental in executing the vision to build a leading Canadian aerospace enterprise, including spearheading the acquisitions of the CL-215/415 waterbomber program in 2016, and the Dash 8 aircraft program in 2019, bringing together the entire original product line of the De Havilland aircraft company. Today the combined enterprise operates manufacturing and aircraft service support in locations across Canada, and in addition to the De Havilland Type Certificates also holds the Shorts Skyvan, 360, 330 and Sherpa family of aircraft.

“Dave has been the leader of a great Canadian success story, and leaves behind an amazing legacy in the global aerospace industry,” said Bill Sheffield, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors of Longview Aviation Capital. “He has overseen the evolution of this business from a small Vancouver Island-based service company into a global leader in specialty and turboprop aircraft, with an iconic portfolio of aircraft, and a stable foundation based on diverse revenue streams. Our aviation business has a bright future, and is well positioned to remain at the forefront of the industry as the world emerges from the effects of the pandemic. On behalf of the Board, and our employees, we thank Dave for his many contributions, and wish him well in his richly deserved retirement.”

“It has been a true privilege to work alongside the women and men who have made, and continue to make, our portfolio what it is,” said Mr. Curtis. “I joined Viking because of my passion for aviation, and I am proud that our companies have contributed to the development of the Canadian aerospace industry. I am most proud that our team has helped demonstrate that with vision, commitment and spirit even small companies working outside the limelight can take on the world and accomplish big things.”

Added Mr. Curtis: “The time is right to turn over leadership to a new generation of visionaries. This organization has all the qualities necessary to lead the post-pandemic industry, including talented people, great assets, and a committed owner with a long-term perspective. With the industry in the midst of a transition, it is an excellent time for renewed leadership with a focus on charting the future for these great aircraft programs.”

As it pursues the opportunities of a transitioning industry, David Riggs will lead the business having been appointed Chief Transformation Officer of the entire aviation enterprise including De Havilland and Viking. Mr. Riggs has served as Chief Transformation Officer of De Havilland since June 2020 and has a long track record in the aviation industry, including consulting to Viking on the restart of production of the Twin Otter. Don Boitson, currently Chief Operating Officer responsible for Western Canada operations, will take on that role for the entire enterprise including the Viking and De Havilland operations, reporting to Mr. Riggs. Todd Young, who has more than 30 years of experience with De Havilland aircraft, will provide additional support as an advisor to the management team. An international search is underway for a new Chief Executive Officer for the combined aviation enterprise. The Board will seek a proven leader to focus on growing the aircraft businesses, founded on a commitment to customer service and a passion for strengthening De Havilland as an anchor of the Canadian aerospace industry. More details on the search will be available in the coming weeks.

About De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

De Havilland Canada’s portfolio includes support to the worldwide fleet of Dash 8-100/200/300/400 aircraft, as well as production and sales of the Dash 8-400 aircraft. With its low carbon footprint and operating costs, industry-leading passenger experience and jet-like performance, the Dash 8-400 aircraft, which seats up to 90 passengers, is the environmentally responsible choice for operators seeking optimal performance on regional routes. https://dehavilland.com.

About Viking

Viking Air Ltd. is the global leader in utility aircraft services and manufacturer of Series 400 and Guardian 400 Twin Otter aircraft. Viking is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Type Certificate holder for all out-of-production De Havilland Canada aircraft and the Canadair Amphibious Aerial Firefighting aircraft fleet. https://www.vikingair.com.

About Longview Aviation Capital Corp.

Longview Aviation Capital Corp. was established in 2016 to manage a portfolio of long-term investments in the Canadian aerospace industry, including De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited; Viking Air Ltd.; Pacific Sky Aviation Ltd; Longview Aviation Asset Management Inc; and Longview Aviation Services.
Longview, through its subsidiaries, holds the Type Certificates for the entire product line of the original De Havilland aircraft company including the DHC-1 through DHC-8, as well as the CANADAIR CL-215, CL-215T, and CL-415 aerial firefighting aircraft, and the Shorts Skyvan, 360, 330 and Sherpa family of aircraft. Longview’s subsidiaries operate manufacturing and aircraft service support in locations across Canada, including Victoria, Calgary and Toronto.

de Havilland Chipmunk 75th Anniversary Fly In, Old Warden

From Aviation in Focus – link to source story and more photos

Thanks to LAASI AVIATION

Posted on  by Martin Media

The first fly in that I had attended since September 2019, and it was hard not to feel a swell of emotion on account of the gradual return to normality after Covid coupled with the sight of 30+ DHC 1 Chipmunks, 16 of which took to the air in an impressive formation flypast towards the end of the event. Early drizzle and cloud gradually cleared by lunchtime resulting in some nice sunshine to photograph these pristine aircraft. Entry was £15 to non members of Shuttleworth, which also enabled access to the 6 hangers housing the collection. A nice touch was the free escorted flight line walk, although these were limited to 40 minutes and progress along the line was limited by the slowest member of your group.

All in all an enjoyable day and it was good to see so many familiar faces out in force!

IMG_3157
IMG_3060
IMG_3250

Log:

G-AKDN de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk 1A 11 Private

G-AKDN

G-ALWB de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk 22A C1/0100 Patricia Neville

G-ALWB

G-AMUF de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk 21 C1/0832 Private

G-AMUF

Link to more photos

Ravn Alaska Commences Cabin Disinfection Procedures on Dash 8 Aircraft with Autonomous UVC Disinfecting Robot Manufactured by aero hygenx

RAY, the robot delivers high-frequency UVC light that destroys up to 99.9% of pathogens – including the COVID-19 virus.

OTTAWA, ON and TORONTO, May 27, 2021 /CNW/ – Ravn Alaska has introduced RAY, the autonomous robot to disinfect its Dash 8 aircraft cabins between flights. Designed and manufactured by aero hygenx inc. in Canada, with support from De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (“De Havilland Canada”), the robot emits ultraviolet-C (UVC) light to provide consistent, sustainable and chemical-free disinfection of cabin air and surfaces between flights. Ravn Alaska, which operates 10 Dash 8-100 aircraft manufactured by De Havilland Canada, is one of the first airlines to utilize the robot on regional aircraft.

Image of RAY in Cabin of Dash 8-100 Aircraft (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)
Image of RAY in Cabin of Dash 8-100 Aircraft (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

RAY delivers high-frequency UVC light that destroys up to 99.9% of pathogens – including the COVID-19 virus. The use of UVC light reduces the need for frequent chemical-based disinfection that could impact aircraft interior surfaces and sensitive equipment, and leave residues that may come into contact with passengers and crew.

“We are enhancing our ability to keep our passengers safe by including the chemical-free disinfection method provided by RAY among the procedures we are utilizing to sanitize our Dash 8 aircraft,” said Rob McKinney, Chief Executive Officer, Ravn Alaska. “We anticipate that RAY will be a valuable asset to our airline and for other airlines around the world, as together we seek to rebuild passenger confidence and help our industry recover.”   

aero hygenx (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)
aero hygenx (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

“The transportation industry has been brought to its knees as a result of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, rapid, consistent, safe, chemical-free disinfection of air and surfaces is vital for employee and passenger safety in the fight against current and future pandemics,” said Arash Mahin, Chief Executive Officer, aero hygenx. “We are grateful for the support De Havilland Canada provided to optimize RAY for use in the Dash 8 Series aircraft. We are confident operators will see significant savings compared to traditional chemical-based cleaning methods.”

“We look forward to seeing the deployment of many more UVC-light emitting, RAY robots among operators of Dash 8 aircraft,” said Robert Mobilio, Vice President, Engineering and Quality, De Havilland Canada. “De Havilland Canada has been working throughout the pandemic to help our operators with solutions that assist in returning airline fleets to service, so we were happy to support aero hygenx in customizing RAY for use on regional aircraft and are very pleased that a long-time Dash 8 operator such as Ravn is part of this journey.”

Optimized for use on Dash 8 Series aircraft, RAY delivers the required UVC dosage and 360° coverage throughout the cabin, lavatories and crew area. The disinfection procedure between flights on Dash 8 Series aircraft can be completed in under five minutes. Unlike traditional, chemical-based cleaning methods, no additional time is required for chemicals to dissipate before crew and passengers can board the aircraft. RAY is monitored continuously through HygenX Stream, and operators can access valuable key metrics and reports related to fleet disinfection, unit health monitoring and predictive maintenance. HygenX Stream also facilitates the customization of the level of disinfection based on flight duration and regional risk factors. It also provides the ability to integrate into operators’ mobile Apps in order to boost passenger confidence. 

About Ravn Alaska

Ravn Alaska is a regional airline headquartered in Anchorage that services 14 communities across Alaska. The airline provides daily flights aboard its safety-rated De Havilland Dash 8-100 fleet, charter flights and cargo shipments. Visit https://ravnalaska.com/ to book a flight and learn more about Ravn. 

About aero hygenx

aero hygenx is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, where it has developed and manufactures its revolutionary autonomous UVC robot called RAY. Its founders and executives have a passion for the aviation industry and a combined 80+ years of experience in safety and quality management, airline operations, software, electrical engineering and electromagnetics. The company’s vision is to instill confidence in passengers to travel again and set a new precedent in the transportation disinfecting industry. www.aerohygenx.com

About De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

De Havilland Canada’s portfolio includes support to the worldwide fleet of Dash 8 Series aircraft (Dash 8-100/200/300/400 aircraft), as well as production and sales of the Dash 8-400 aircraft. With its low carbon footprint and operating costs, industry-leading passenger experience and jet-like performance, the Dash 8-400 aircraft, which seats up to 90 passengers, is the environmentally responsible choice for operators seeking optimal performance on regional routes. De Havilland Canada is a part of the Longview Aviation Capital family of companies.  https://dehavilland.com

De Havilland, Dash 8, Dash 8-100/200/300 and Dash 8-400 are trademarks of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited. 

Unstable approach led to 2020 hard landing and rear fuselage strike in Schefferville, Quebec

Dorval, Quebec, 3 March 2021 — In its investigation report (A20Q0013) released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found that the January 2020 hard landing and rear fuselage strike in Schefferville, Quebec, was the result of an unstable approach.

From Air Inuit

On 20 January 2020, a de Havilland DHC-8-314 operated by Air Inuit Ltd. was conducting a flight from Québec/Jean Lesage Airport, Quebec, to Schefferville Airport, Quebec, with three crew members and 42 passengers on board. During the landing, the rear fuselage struck the runway as the wheels touched down. After landing, the aircraft taxied to the terminal to disembark the passengers. There were no injuries; however, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

The investigation found that the flight crew forgot to perform the descent checklist and realized this at an inopportune time, while the captain (pilot monitoring) was providing a position report. Given ambiguities and contradictions in the company’s stabilized approach guidelines, the captain interpreted that he was allowed to continue the approach below 500 feet above aerodrome elevation, even though the aircraft had not been fully configured for the landing. When the aircraft passed this altitude, the pilots, who were dealing with a heavy workload, didn’t notice and continued the approach, which was unstable. At the time of the landing, the aircraft no longer had enough energy to arrest the descent rate solely by increasing pitch attitude. The pilot’s instinctive reaction to increase the pitch attitude during the flare, combined with the hard landing, resulted in the rear fuselage striking the runway, causing substantial damage to the aircraft’s structure.

The investigation also made findings as to risk related to Air Inuit’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training, and to Transport Canada’s (TC) oversight. Transport Canada assessed Air Inuit’s SOPs, but did not identify any specific issues with the operator’s stabilized approach guidelines. If TC does not assess the quality, consistency, accuracy conciseness, clarity, relevance, and content of SOPs, the procedures may be ineffective, increasing risks to flight operations.

Additionally, the captain had not received many of the required training elements during his recurrent training. If required training elements are not included in recurrent training, and if TC’s surveillance plan does not verify the content of crew training, there may be procedural deficiencies or deviations, increasing risks to flight operations.  

Following the occurrence, Air Inuit took a number of safety actions, including the revision of its SOPs to improve guidelines on several subjects, including stabilized approaches, and the revision of its training program to ensure that all training elements are covered within the two-year recurrent training cycle.

See the investigation page for more information.

Voyageur Aviation awarded contract to upgrade Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) fleet

HALIFAX, NS, April 29, 2021 /CNW/ – Chorus Aviation Inc. (‘Chorus’) (TSX: CHR) is proud to announce that its subsidiary, Voyageur Aviation Corp. (‘Voyageur’), has been awarded a 3-year contract to upgrade and modify Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) fleet of three Dash 8-100 and one Dash 7 aircraft with new surveillance equipment.

Since 1991, the iconic red planes of NASP have played an integral role in keeping our country safe by helping prevent pollution in Canadian waters, protecting the marine environment and endangered marine life, and ensuring a safe and efficient transportation industry along Canada’s massive and varied coastlines.

The contract involves the entire NASP fleet and includes the installation of surveillance equipment provisions for an electro-optical and infrared (‘EO/IR’) sensor, infrared and ultraviolet (‘IR/UV’) scanner for pollution monitoring, observation windows, mission crew seats, and other modifications to existing system installations. Additionally, one Dash 8-100 aircraft will receive Voyageur’s Long-Range Fuel System installation to enable missions requiring significant range and endurance.

“This contract demonstrates Voyageur’s unique engineering capabilities to support customers requiring innovative special mission solutions.” said Scott Tapson, President, Voyageur. “We are excited to expand our relationship with Transport Canada and look forward to working together on this project.”

All work for this contract will be completed at Voyageur’s 200,000 square foot maintenance and engineering facility located at its company headquarters in North Bay, Ontario.

About Voyageur Aviation Corp.

Voyageur Aviation Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chorus Aviation Inc. Voyageur is an integrated provider of specialized aviation services, including contract flying operations both internationally and domestically, and offers advanced engineering and maintenance capabilities. Headquartered in North Bay, Ontario, Voyageur delivers innovative solutions to customers with unique aviation requirements and operates under the core principles of comprehensive safety management, quality assurance, and client-dedicated solutions.   www.voyav.com

About Chorus Aviation Inc.

Chorus is a global provider of integrated regional aviation solutions. Chorus’ vision is to deliver regional aviation to the world. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Chorus is comprised of Chorus Aviation Capital – a leading, global lessor of regional aircraft, and Jazz Aviation and Voyageur Aviation – companies that have long histories of safe operations with excellent customer service.  Chorus provides a full suite of regional aviation support services that encompasses every stage of an aircraft’s lifecycle, including aircraft acquisitions and leasing; aircraft refurbishment, engineering, modification, repurposing and preparation; contract flying; and aircraft and component maintenance, disassembly, and parts provisioning.

Canada’s PAL Airlines to expand to 11 cities this summer

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Jon Hemmerdinger | 7 April 2021

Canadian regional carrier PAL Airlines will expand its network this summer to include 11 new destinations in eastern Canada.

The expansion comes as Canada’s airlines eye a potential summer rebound in air travel demand.

PAL, which operates De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprops, will this summer add flights to Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia, and to Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst in New Brunswick, the airline tells FlightGlobal.

PAL Airlines Dash
Source: PAL Airlines | A PAL Airlines De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop

The expansion will also see PAL add service to Ottawa in Ontario and Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. Additionally, it will begin flying to four cities in Quebec: Les Iles de la Madeleine, Gaspe, Baie-Comeau and Val-d’Or.

The Fredericton routes will include flights to Deer Lake, and onward to St John’s, and to Ottawa and Halifax, the Fredericton airport says on 7 April.

WestJet has also announced a planned expansion. That carrier intends to restore flights to several eastern Canadian cities in late June, meaning it would again serve all the cities it did prior to the pandemic.

RAY the Autonomous UVC Disinfecting Robot Manufactured by aero hygenx Enters Service on Hydro-Québec Dash 8 Aircraft

  • Designed and manufactured by aero hygenx inc. in Canada, with support from De Havilland Canada, the autonomous disinfection robot, RAY provides a consistent, sustainable and chemical-free method to disinfect cabin air and surfaces between flights

OTTAWA, ON and TORONTO, April 6, 2021 /CNW/ – Canadian-based operator of Dash 8 aircraft, Hydro-Québec, has introduced cabin disinfection procedures between flights utilizing the autonomous robot, RAY. It is the first use of a cabin disinfecting procedure using ultraviolet-C (UVC) light delivered by an autonomous robot on in-service regional aircraft and follows Hydro-Québec’s acquisition of the robot from designer and manufacturer aero hygenx inc. Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest electricity producer, operates three Dash 8-300 and Dash 8-400 aircraft manufactured by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (“De Havilland Canada”).

RAY delivers high-frequency UVC light that destroys up to 99.9% of pathogens – including the COVID-19 virus. The use of UVC light reduces the need for frequent chemical-based disinfection that could impact aircraft interior surfaces and sensitive equipment, and leave residues that may come into contact with passengers and crew. The payback period for RAY is less than 12 months and operators will see significant savings compared to when using chemical disinfectants.  In collaboration with De Havilland Canada, RAY has been optimized for use on the Dash 8 Series aircraft.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic surging on, it is important that we utilize effective and efficient disinfection techniques to ensure a pathogen-free cabin. We believe that RAY will be beneficial to our operation while providing a high level of confidence to employees who fly on our Dash 8 shuttle to the hydro-electric generating sites,” said René Collin, Manager – Air Transport, Hydro-Québec. 

“Rapid, consistent, and chemical-free disinfection of air and surfaces is vital for employee and passenger safety in the fight against pandemics,” said Arash Mahin, Chief Executive Officer, aero hygenx. “We are mindful of the industry’s economic challenges and are confident that RAY will deliver significant cost savings for aircraft operators from the onset. We are grateful and fortunate to have the support of De Havilland Canada, an aviation industry visionary, in helping us adapt RAY to assist the industry in these challenging times.”

“The completion of development and testing of  an innovative, chemical-free disinfection method at a rapid pace is a testament to the agility and versatility of the aero hygenx and De Havilland Canada teams who worked alongside each other to adapt RAY to cater to regional aircraft operations,” said Robert Mobilio, Vice President, Engineering and Quality, De Havilland Canada. “The vision was to create a solution that would provide immediate benefits to the entire regional aviation industry during the ongoing pandemic, as well as in the post-pandemic era where enhanced disinfection is expected to be a mainstay. Hydro-Québec is a highly accomplished, long-standing Dash 8 operator and we are happy to have them on board as launch customer for RAY.”

Optimized for use on Dash 8 Series aircraft, RAY has a compact body while still delivering the required UVC dosage and 360° coverage throughout the cabin, lavatories and crew area. The disinfection procedure between flights on Dash 8 Series aircraft can be completed in under five minutes, and no time is required to allow chemicals to dissipate before crew and passengers can board the aircraft, as is the case when chemical disinfection methods are used. Data analysis and reporting is available via the cloud-based HygenX Stream.

About Hydro-Québec
Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. It is Canada’s largest electricity producer and ranks among the world’s largest hydropower producers. Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. The company uses mainly renewable generating options, in particular large hydro. Its research facilities, collectively called Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ), conduct R&D in energy-related fields, including energy efficiency and storage. www.hydroquebec.com/

About aero hygenx
aero hygenx is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, where it has developed and manufactures its revolutionary autonomous UVC robot called RAY. Its founders and executives have a passion for the aviation industry and a combined 80+ years of experience in safety and quality management, airline operations, software, electrical engineering and electromagnetics. The company’s vision is to instill confidence in passengers to travel again and set a new precedent in the transportation disinfecting industry. www.aerohygenx.com

About De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited
De Havilland Canada’s portfolio includes support to the worldwide fleet of Dash 8 Series aircraft (Dash 8-100/200/300/400 aircraft), as well as production and sales of the Dash 8-400 aircraft. With its low carbon footprint and operating costs, industry-leading passenger experience and jet-like performance, the Dash 8-400 aircraft, which seats up to 90 passengers, is the environmentally responsible choice for operators seeking optimal performance on regional routes. De Havilland Canada is a part of the Longview Aviation Capital family of companies. https://dehavilland.com

De Havilland, Dash 8, Dash 8-100/200/300 and Dash 8-400 are trademarks of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited. 

Air Baltic’s all-A220 fleet to help it ‘fly out’ of crisis: chief

From Flight Global – link to source story

By Cirium | 24 March 2021

Air Baltic chief executive Martin Gauss has reaffirmed the carrier’s commitment to an IPO, and expressed confidence that its strategy to become an all-Airbus A220 operator makes it “well-positioned” to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

The airline has also announced that it will begin flights from Riga to Dubai in September. The service will be operated four times a week and will replace Air Baltic’s Riga-Abu Dhabi route.

Air Baltic Airbus A220
Source: Air Baltic

Air Baltic reduced its fleet from 40 to 25 aircraft, all Airbus A220s, after the pandemic hit

Speaking on a public webinar that was broadcast live on YouTube on 24 March, Gauss said Air Baltic’s single-aircraft fleet means it is “well-positioned to fly out of this crisis” because of the A220’s lower operating costs and flexibility to operate both short- and longer-range routes.

The carrier has 25 A220-300s – two of which are listed by Cirium as being in storage – and a further 25 on order. It has options and letters of intent on an additional 30 of the type. Air Baltic in November appointed Jetcraft Commercial to sub-lease 11 of its De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprops, as part of its plan to become an all-A220 operator.

The A220 is “the right size” because it makes it “much easier to open up a route again” as travel restrictions ease, and it can be used to operate high-frequency short-haul routes, such as Vilnius-Tallinn, as well as longer-range routes, like Air Baltic’s upcoming Dubai service, says Gauss.

The airline will take delivery of seven more A220s this year, he adds, after agreeing last August to push back deliveries. Air Baltic had signalled that it would have all 50 A220s in service by 2023, but this has been delayed until 2024.

Gauss reaffirms that Air Baltic “will go to the stock exchange” to sell shares in order to pay back the Latvian government’s “temporary” €250 million ($295 million) equity investment, which was approved by the European Commission in July. No date has been disclosed for the IPO.

The airline’s new business plan, “Destination 2025 CLEAN”, is “the business plan that will take Air Baltic out of the crisis”, asserts Gauss. The plan – an adjusted version of its “Destination 2025” strategy – includes five different scenarios of how Air Baltic will respond based on the speed and efficacy of Europe’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“The key now is that vaccination levels need to increase in Europe and Latvia,” says Gauss. “We depend on the freedom of people to move around.”

He describes trials of IATA’s Travel Pass and the European Commission’s proposed Digital Green Pass – both of which are designed to remove restrictions by enabling travellers to provide evidence of their health status – as being “the last steps before we are out of the crisis”.

De Havilland entitled to terminate SpiceJet Dash 8 order: UK judge

From Flight Global – link to source story

By David Kaminski-Morrow | 7 March 2021

Turboprop manufacturer De Havilland Aircraft of Canada was entitled to terminate a Dash 8-400 purchase agreement with Indian carrier SpiceJet after the airline stopped making payments and taking delivery of aircraft, a judge has ruled.

SpiceJet originally ordered 25 of the type from Bombardier – part of a September 2017 agreement for up to 50, the largest single deal for the aircraft type – before the airframer sold the programme to Longview Aviation Capital, which placed it under the De Havilland brand.

De Havilland has pursued a $42.95 million claim against SpiceJet after the airline took, and paid for, the first five aircraft but failed to take delivery of the next three or make pre-delivery payments on either these or 12 subsequent ones.

The airframer served notice terminating the deliveries of all outstanding aircraft and cancelling the purchase agreement.

SpiceJet Q400-c-Bombardier
Source: Bombardier

SpiceJet’s deal for 25 firm and 25 optioned Dash 8-400s was valued at $1.7 billion

SpiceJet had argued that its obligations to make pre-delivery payments on specific aircraft were suspended by agreement between the two sides, under an April 2019 change order.

But De Havilland countered that the change order did not suspend this obligation. It said that only the scheduled delivery months were suspended. SpiceJet claimed the suspension of scheduled delivery months automatically suspended payment liability because the two were linked.

In a 23 February ruling from the High Court in London, the judge says he is “persuaded” by De Havilland’s argument.

“I am satisfied that, although there was an agreement for variation of the [scheduled delivery months], there was no agreement to excuse payment of the invoices in respect of those [pre-delivery payments] which had already accrued due,” he says.

SpiceJet had also tried to defend its failure to take delivery of its sixth, seventh and eighth aircraft by claiming that De Havilland had breached an obligation to provide assistance in arranging finance.

But the judge rejects SpiceJet’s claim that such assistance amounted to working with the airline and its financiers to procure finance, and that any assistance – given that De Havilland had no responsibility to incur expense itself – would have been “very limited”.

De Havilland was “entitled” to terminate deliveries of the sixth, seventh and eighth aircraft, says the ruling, and similarly entitled to terminate all remaining aircraft encompassed by the order.