MIAMI — Canadian airplane manufacturer Bombardier has announced the surprising sale of its Q Series program and De Havilland trademark to a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview Aviation capital Corp. (Viking Air) for approximately $300 million.

As soon as the transaction is completed, Longview will become the largest turboprop manufacturer in North America, with the company also owning and producing the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series, the DHC-2T Turbo Beaver, and the CL-415 Enhance Aerial Firefighter.

The QSeries now joins the CSeries as the second program to be sold by Bombardier in 2018.

Earlier this year, the Canadian planemaker sold its CSeries program to Airbus. 

The European manufacturer acquired a majority stake in the CSeries program and renamed the aircraft as Airbus A220.

David Curtis, CEO of Longview Aviation Capital Corp. & Viking Air said in a public statement that “the Dash 8 turboprop is the perfect complement to our existing portfolio of specialized aircraft including the Twin Otter and the Canadair CL 215 and 415 series of water bombers.”

“We see enormous value in the de Havilland Dash 8 program, with these aircraft in demand and in use all around the world,” he said.

A total of 508 Q400 aircraft are currently in airline service, with 56 orders as of July 2018 with the aircraft becoming the most popular turboprop to enter commercial service.

Bombardier Q400, deHavilland Canada dash-8-400, Q400, DHC-8-402, DH8D, c/n 4571, C-FVBN,  Andy Cline,

The purchase agreement will see Longview Aviation Capital take on the responsibility of more than 1,000 Dash-8 aircraft, which includes the Q-100, Q-200, Q-300, and Q-400, which are either in service or on order.

It is understood that the current production facility in Toronto will be sold as part of this deal and that Longview and Bombardier will sign a lease agreement that will see the production continue in its current location, at least until 2021.

“We are committed to a business-as-usual approach that will see no interruption to the production, delivery, and support of these outstanding aircraft,” Said Curtis.

It is believed that the purchase is still yet to be closed and will be subjected to the common closing conditions which include a receipt of regulatory approvals.

Photo: Daniel Case

The deal is expected to be completed over the coming months with the final signature to come before the second half of 2019.

This will be the first time the entire de Havilland production line will be produced by a single company since the original manufacturer was bought out by Boeing.

What lies ahead for Bombardier

With the announcement of the sale of Bombardier’s best selling product, the manufacturer will be left with only its CRJ program to sell.

In a financial report published today, Bombardier mentioned that the plan was to sell all non-essential assets of the company, with plans to ‘simplify and streamline.’

The manufacturer has also confirmed the launch of a new enterprise-wide productivity program, which they say will help them further streamline, lean out, and simplify the company.

Key engineering team members will be redeployed to the business segments, with the largest group moving to Business Aircraft, to ensure they have all the necessary capabilities for future business jet developments.

The company will also create new Advanced Technologies Office (ATO), led by François Caza, who will take control over this new division.

The ATO will be assigned to focus on systems and engineering design, which will include applying experience from Bombardier’s aerospace programs to its rail transportation business.

The right-sizing and redeployment of employees will not be focused on just the central engineering but will be company-wide with focuses on optimizing production and management, being one of the main focuses of the company as they continue with plans to reduces costs.

Bombardier has confirmed that to reach these goals, around 5,000 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months will be removed.

The company says this will lead to an annualized savings of around $250 million.

While there have been no reports of a loss, and the company has turned over a year-over-year percentage of +48%, they would clearly still be keen to re-size the company to meet the market demands that they feel they have.

The announcement of the QSeries sale to Viking will surely help the company focus all its efforts into its business jet division, which just came out with the all-new Global 7500.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates.