De Havilland Pushes Sweeping Aftermarket Initiatives

The manufacturer launched three cargo conversion options for its largest turboprop, the Dash 8-400 at the Farnborough Airshow.
Credit: De Havilland

With production of De Havilland flagship aircraft, the Dash 8, paused since last year, the Canadian manufacturer has pushed hard to widen aftermarket revenue streams for the aircraft.

For example, earlier this year it announced a life-extension program for the -100 variant of the turboprop, while at last week’s Farnborough Airshow it launched three cargo conversion options for its largest turboprop, the Dash 8-400.

And to keep the aircraft competitive in the passenger space, De Havilland also announced a retrofit program to increase the payload and upgrade the cabin of the Dash 8-400 

“Our solutions offer our operators many opportunities to increase operational flexibility and to provide a passenger experience that is equivalent to that on new production aircraft,” said Jean-Philippe Côté, vice president of programs, De Havilland Canada. 

He added: “Our design weight increases for the Dash 8-400 aircraft will allow operators to meet the increasing passenger weight allowance requirements mandated by Transport Canada, the FAA and various other aviation authorities, without any impact on revenue.”

Also at the air show, the OEM won five-year maintenance deals from Air Niugini and Flybe. Under the agreements, De Havilland Canada will manage component maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the airlines’ Dash 8-400 aircraft.

Such maintenance, retrofit and conversion projects should breathe some life into the Dash 8 program over the next few years, but the industry is really interested in whether De Havilland decides to restart production.

The middle of this decade has been mooted for a possible restart, but given the Dash 8’s struggle to attract orders over the past decade, and the infrastructure challenges involved in resurrecting production, the business case for doing so may be hard to make.

If so, expects to see a more aftermarket initiatives in the coming years. 

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.