Monday, June 02, 2014

Diamond Aircraft, London, Ontario, Canada: The deal follows one to make drones

The ink fresh on a deal to manufacture drones for the American military, Diamond Aircraft in London is still selling aircraft, scoring a $7.8-million deal to sell training aircraft to a flight school.

CTI Professional Flight Training in Florida has ordered 22 of the two-seater DA-20.

“It is important. It helps fill the order book,” said Diamond chief executive Peter Maurer. “It is always an affirmation of our aircraft when a school chooses it.”

The DA-20 has proven popular among flight schools, he added.

In a news release, CTI chief executive Alan Mullen said “Diamond’s safety record, low operating costs, modern design, training effectiveness and excellent customer service and warranty support left no rational alternative.

Diamond announced last week a partnership with Northrop Grumman, the American defense giant, to start making surveillance aircraft here by year end, beginning with manned models and evolving to unmanned, known as drones.

“We’re diversifying. When the industry collapsed in 2008 our markets were in private aviation and flight training and we retained that,” Maurer said.

The latest developments are evidence of a turnaround for Diamond, which about a year ago laid off more than 200, cutting staff to about 40.

It now employs about 130 and diversified into manufacturing and selling parts.

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