Today in Aviation: Boeing Finalizes Purchase of de Havilland Canada
Today in Aviation

Today in Aviation: Boeing Finalizes Purchase of de Havilland Canada

Today in Aviation, the Boeing Company completed the purchase of Canadian aircraft manufacturer, de Havilland Canada, in 1986. De Havilland Canada (DHC) was established in 1928 as a subsidiary of the then eight-year-old British manufacturer of the same name. DHC would eventually be incorporated into the Bombardier group of companies 64 years later. 

The company’s Dash 8-400 is currently considered the most productive turboprop on the market. The type is known as the “network builder” due to its short take-off and landing capabilities and efficient regional operations. 

An early shot from the manufacturer’s Toronto factory. Photo: de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited

Building for the Canadian Market


After World War II, DHC began to create its own aircraft exclusively for the Canadian market. These included the DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter, with short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities on both land and water. The DHC-6 ‘Twin Otter’ is one of the countries most successful commercial aircraft. DHC built over 800 of the type between 1965 and 1988. The series 400 remains in production today. Later came the DHC-7 and DHC-8.

In 1874, the Canadian government purchased the planemaker and invested a large amount of money. But DHC continued to lose money and announced they would be privatizing the company. It was later revealed that it would be selling its product range and aircraft factories to Boeing for US$130m.

The Seattle-based manufacturer announced they would make significant investments in de Havilland. This would allow for ongoing product development and modernization of its manufacturing facilities. Boeing also gave guarantees to the Canadian government that they would not end the production of any models from the portfolio. 

Flybe G-ECOD Bombardier Dash 8-Q400. Flybe (BE) was once the world’s largest operator of the Dash 8 Q400. Photo: Alberto Cucini/airways

Boeing Backtracks


However, shortly after the purchase, Boeing announced they would close down both the Twin otter and DHC-7 lines. 

Profits that Boeing had hoped would be generated from DHC failed to materialize. In July 1990, Boeing announced that they would again put the company up for sale. In 1991, Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace announced they would purchase DHC for US$260m. Bombardier would complete the purchase the next year.


Featured image: WinAir De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter Breidenstein. Photo permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 only as published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

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Writer, aviation fanatic, plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
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