Diamond Aircraft continues to struggle with the ongoing general aviation market malaise, temporarily laying off the majority of its workforce at its London, Ontario-based operation and suspending development of the D-Jet single-jet program.

The company cites “continuing low piston aircraft sales, especially in the North American market, and the significant burden of its cost-intensive D-Jet development program” for the latest actions.

The company is planning to restructure its operations during the temporary layoffs. “We want to hire as many employees as possible, as quickly as possible, but the exact number and timing will be determined as we develop our restructuring plans in coming weeks,” Diamond President and CEO Peter Maurer says, adding the D-Jet program will remain suspended while the company works to secure additional funding.

Diamond is keeping a core group of employees to fulfill aircraft, parts and service orders and provide support.

The layoffs only affect the Canada operations, and not the Austria factory, which is independently owned and operated.

The layoffs are the second such wide-scale action in recent years. The company in early spring 2011 laid off all but a core group of employees on its D-Jet program after the Canadian government did not respond to a request for a CA$35 million loan. The move brought the D-Jet program almost to a standstill.

The company, however, was able to secure funding and by late summer had resumed flight testing of its D-Jet prototypes. Diamond had built three prototypes and hoped to complete and begin flying S/N004 for certification flight tests in the third quarter. Plans had called for certification and deliveries by late 2014.