Cessna Suspends Diesel 172 Sales, Diamond Steps Up Support

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AOPA says Cessna has suspended its delivery schedule of 172 TD models in light of the crisis at Thielert Aircraft Engines, which supplies the engines. According to AOPA, Cessna intends to continue with certification of the diesel Skyhawk but none of the 100 on order will go to customers just yet. "At this point we have decided that we will not deliver 172TD aircraft during 2008, and we have informed our customers accordingly," AOPA quotes an unnamed Cessna spokesman as saying. Meanwhile, Diamond Aircraft appears to be moving aggressively to establish technical and parts support for its installed base of Thielert diesel engines, following Thielert's bankruptcy filing last week. In a series of letters to owners, Diamond says it plans to order a "significant spare parts inventory" and is asking dealers and owners for status reports on parts needs. It has also established a North American hotline for owners and shops that can be reached at 888-613-0096 or via e-mail at DA42-TAE-NorthAmericaSupport@diamondair.com. As we reported last week, Thielert declared bankruptcy due to a looming liquidity crisis and on news that German authorities were investigating the company for financial anomalies relating to its IPO filing in 2005.

The board last week dismissed company founder Frank Thielert and the chief financial officer, Roswitha Grosser and, this week, appointed a new CEO, lawyer Marcel Kleiss. Further, Bruno Kuebler, who Diamond calls "one of Germany's preeminent insolvency administrators," was appointed to oversee Thielert's insolvency proceedings. Diamond currently has more than 30 new DA42 Twin Stars awaiting engines and intends to continue production, but it warns customers that "given the current situation, there may be unusual delays in service and response to technical inquiries."