DeHavilland Canada says it will build its own towered airport and manufacturing complex worth hundreds of millions of dollars east of Calgary, Alberta, over the next 15 years and is considering building at least three of its iconic designs at the new facility. The huge complex will cover 1,500 acres and include aircraft assembly, parts manufacturing, 3D printing, maintenance and repair, research and educational facilities. Future expansion may include commercial development. It will be known as De Havilland Field.

For almost 100 years, De Havilland (which for 30 years was part of Bombardier) was based in Toronto. As part of its divestiture of all its business units except business jets, Bombardier sold its Toronto complex, which included an airport, for residential and commercial development. Canadian-owned Longview Capital, which manufactures Twin Otters, bought the Q400 regional airliner and CL-415 amphibious firefighting aircraft businesses. The deal came with the knowledge that it would have to move within five years as part of the Toronto real estate sale. 

The company has already decided to build an updated version of the water bomber, the DHC-515, and is now studying whether to continue building Twin Otters and resuming production of the Q400, which was paused in 2021. CEO Brian Chafe seems bullish on their chances. “I can guarantee you that our goal and the mandate was given to me to get back into production for all three of those platforms and maybe some derivatives of some other ones,” Chafe told the Calgary Herald. “All of them are driven by customers coming to us”

The company is receiving no tax or development incentives from provincial or federal governments. The only break it will get is a 40 percent property tax reduction for three years from tiny Wheatland County, its new home. That’s a standard incentive provided to all new businesses in the rural jurisdiction. “This is huge, not just for Wheatland County but definitely for the province of Alberta,” Wheatland County Reeve (the equivalent of a mayor) Amber Link told the Herald. “I’m sitting here smiling ear to ear … it’s just so gratifying to see them choose our county.”


  1. Just so folks understand, the actual De Havilland Aircraft company stopped existing a long time ago.

    A venture capital company Longview Aviation Capital brought the Dash 8 intellectual property from Bombardier and then renamed it to a totally new company they are calling De Havilland Canada.

    Longview already bought Viking Air which had purchased the type certificates of the DHC-1 through 7 and for several years ago. Have a look at the Longview and new De Havilland web sites, I’ve seen eVTOL sites that were more convincing that they were a going aviation concern. They repeatedly take credit for the real De Havilland’s 100 yr history and 1,000 aircraft production, but actually have nothing to do with the original company other than eventually buying the rights to their IP.

    This proposed new venture will start by spending another year investigating restarting production of the Twin Otter, than spend another year investigating the feasibility of restarting the Dash 8. Production would perhaps begin in 5 yrs.

    This is factory is planned to be in Wheatland County, Alberta, with a population of 9,000 in an area currently zoned for farming. Pseudo-De Havilland is claiming “up to 1,500 good jobs” According to the Calgary Herald, “De Havilland expects to start construction after the site has been rezoned by the county, which could occur in late 2023, with some operations beginning as soon as 2025.” Yep, a lot of hedging in their choice of words.

    Like a lot of places businesses avoid, Calgary’s is touting their new “Open For Business” slogan. Similar to places like NY State, if you were actually open for business, businesses would be aware of it and you wouldn’t need an ad campaign.

    DHC-6 Twin Otter plane and the Dash 8-400 have not been in production since 2000 due to lack of market. While there is a perhaps a market for a dozen or so Twin Otters every year , unless the economics and passenger preference have changed, there’s no one lining up to buy the Dash 8-400.

    As far as “The company is receiving no tax or development incentives from provincial or federal governments.”, that is not correct. Viking (and now Pseudo-De Havilland) for 15 years has been a major recipient of the generosity of the Canadian taxpayers through tens of millions of financing, credit, and free brokering efforts to foreign militaries and private companies through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), without which, it is unlikely they would have the resources to sell the 140 or so Twin Otters Viking made before 2020 over a 13 year period.

    This has a ring Foxconn Wisconsin, i.e. a lot of well meaning local and regional governments hearing what they want to hear but ignoring the numbers that make this dream unrealistic.

  2. Plus, according to the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation of Alberta which is responsible for “Implementation of Alberta’s Recovery Plan” (yikes!) they have a tracking tool of projects, and this is simply listed as “Proposed”, and unlike all the dozens of other tracked proposals, there is no actual investment dollar amount listed. So this seems to be an idea for an idea at this point. Maybe hold off on flipping that house in Wheatland County until this gets a little firmer…