Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Diamond Aircraft is looking to hire 100 after buying licensing rights for DA62

Diamond Aircraft chief executive Peter Maurer shows off the seven-seat DA62 Tuesday that will be assembled at the London plant. The company is holding a job fair Thursday to hire more staff to produce the plane.


A new aircraft has landed in the hangar at Diamond Aircraft, and the London plant is adding about 100 workers to meet demand.

Diamond Aircraft Industries will begin manufacturing a new, seven-seat, twin-engine aircraft called the DA62 in September and is holding a job fair Thursday to staff the program, Peter Maurer, Diamond chief executive, said Tuesday.

“We are getting a whole new line here. This is a big deal.” he said. “It is the latest and greatest Diamond has produced. It is our new flagship. It is basically a flying, luxury SUV. There is a great market for it.”

The plant already has orders for 50 of the DA62, he said.



Diamond, located at the London International Airport, employs 170 and will grow its ranks to about 300 during the course of about one year, said Maurer.

“We will grow. We have to hire people and train people and that takes time. We are production limited now.”

The sales market for performance light aircraft has turned around and there is growing demand for performance aircraft, such as the DA62, said Matt Thurber, editor-in-chief of the magazine Aviation International News.

“That market has done quite well,” said Thurber.

He has followed the fortunes of the DA62, adding “it has done quite well. It appears to have gotten off to a good start.”



The 50 orders this year comes on the heels of it selling 30 in 2016, he added.

“This is a great opportunity,” for Diamond, said Thurber. “It looks to be an aircraft growing in popularity. It is the latest in technology in that market. Any aircraft maker would be proud to have that as part of their lineup.”

The largest plane ever made in London, it sells for about US$1.3 million.

It was manufactured in Austria in 2016 but Diamond in London purchased the licencing rights to make it here.

In addition, Diamond also purchased the rights to be the sole source manufacturer for the newest version of the DA40, a four-seat, single engine plane that was also designed in Austria.

“We will take on design responsibility, worldwide production and worldwide distribution. We will build all DA40s and sell them,” said Maurer, adding it is in production now.

“It is a lot more business for us, higher volume.”



Maurer projects the plant will assemble about 100 planes a year “in the near future.”

“In a few years we will be much higher than that,” said Maurer. “It will grow. We have to hire people and train people and that takes time. We are production limited now.”

Diamond wants to hire across the board, in composite manufacturing, metal shop, electronics and office staff, to name a few areas.

“We look for reliable people with a good attitude. We can teach the skills they need,” he added.

The news marks a bounce back for Diamond. In 2011, it laid off more than 200 when its D-Jet program was shelved.

That resiliency is exactly what the London area’s manufacturing sector is all about, said Kapil Lakhotia, chief executive of London Economic Development Corp.

“It underscores the importance of having a diverse manufacturing sector, including aviation, automotive, and food, to name a few,” he said.

“That is why the London manufacturing is so resilient. It is great to see growth at Diamond. They have new life.”

Diamond also continues to assemble the DA20, a two-seater largely used as a trainer. It is still widely used by the United States air force as a trainer.

In December, Wanfeng Aviation, the Canadian division of a Chinese conglomerate, bought a controlling share of the London Diamond operation. That sale helped fund the purchase of the DA40 and DA62 programs.

“It has been fantastic for us. To those that express concern that Chinese majority ownership may result in loss of jobs to China, I would say that Wanfeng has a history of investing globally, that we are now hiring in London because of their investment and that the investment makes the Diamond Aircraft brand stronger overall. I do not see anything but growth for us in London for the foreseeable future,” said Maurer.

The future of Diamond’s much talked about D-Jet program is not certain at this point, added Maurer. “It’s a great aircraft and its future depends on our near term success and how the entry level jet market develops. A lot of valuable know-how was gained by Diamond during the D-Jet development that can be put to good use on our other programs.”

Diamond Aircraft job fair

Looking for nearly 100 workers

Thursday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Diamond Aircraft, Crumlin Sideroad, at London International Airport

Diamond’s DA62

Maximum cruise speed: More than 350 kph

Max range: More than 2,200 km

Cost: US$1.3 Million

Target market: Private pilots, business owners, commercial operators

Sample Flight: London to Ottawa, 90 minutes, with a total fuel consumption of less than 90 litres of jet fuel, about $125.

Construction: All carbon fibre airframe for strength and aerodynamic efficiency; twin turbo-diesel engines.

http://www.lfpress.com

No comments: