Diamond's Expansion A Blast
A potential blast from the past interrupted the massive expansion of Diamond Aircraft's European headquarters last week. Employees were evacuated when workers digging the foundation of the new 100,000-square-foot composite facility unearthed a couple of unexploded World War II bombs. Diamond's factory, at Wiener-Neustadt Airport in Austria, was the site of a Messershmitt ME 109 factory which was bombed heavily during the war. After the bombs were removed, work resumed on the expansion made necessary by overall demand and the introduction of the and D-JET. Another European manufacturer, EADS Socata, is in expansion mode, too. EADS Socata announced its Mexican sales will be handled by Latin American Training Aviation SA in Cancun. In a news release, EADS Socata VP Jacques Lordon noted that Mexico has the second-largest business aviation fleet in the world and most of the aircraft are 25 years or older. He said the high-temperature, high-altitude conditions of many Mexican destinations (Mexico City is at 8,448 feet) showcase the TBM 700's performance. During a demonstration marking the signing of the agreement, a TBM 700 with six people aboard took off from Mexico City in 2,700 feet, a fraction of the distance used by some business jets.