Diamond Aircraft (London, Ontario) is adding 40 employees to its staff after winning work from Germany’s Dornier Seastar Aircraft. The name Dornier is legendary and pivotal to the history of seaplanes. Diamond faced turbulence five years ago that forced it to shed much of its staff. Diamond laid off half its 400 workers in 2010 after the Canadian federal government refused a request for a $35m loan to aid in developing its D-jet, a personal jet.
The company announced the deal to make the all composite airframe for the Dornier Seastar, a 12-passenger amphibious plane. Diamond will manufacture the fuselage, wings and tail for the Seastar, which is assembled in Germany.
The Seastar is the world’s most advanced amphibious aircraft, featuring a purpose built design, modern technology all composite corrosion-free airframe, glass cockpit, retractable tri-cycle gear and twin centreline mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engines.
The initial contract, for the manufacture of the first ten shipsets, with options for subsequent units, includes significant tooling work to ready the Seastar for higher volume production.
“We selected Diamond for several reasons”, said Dr. Albert Halder, President and CEO of Dornier Seawings GmbH. “Diamond was responsive to our needs, has the necessary experience, resources and facilities and their airplanes are known for their high build quality. We will work very closely with Diamond, with our specialists resident at Diamond’s London facility to oversee the progress, support tooling and process development, and to provide engineering and production liaison with our team in Germany.
I hope for Diamond Aircraft that they are getting ample cash advances from Dornier and are making sure they are getting paid in full before delivering anything. The “new” Dornier has shopped concepts around the world without being able to put anything in production.
35 million$ divided by 400 employees is 87,500$. Over 10 years, that’s 8750$ per employee. I’m not sure if some of them collected Unemployment Insurance or if they were able to switch jobs rapidly (to Bombardier?). But 8750$ per employee per year, that’s rather cheap (employees likely pay more in federal taxes than what the 8750 per year that the company would get from the gov, a net positive, a slam-dunk investment). Not only that but, instead of losing those 400 employees, there might actually be way more employees. And that’s not counting contracting companies, parts and related jobs. And some of these employees might have some entrepreneurial fibers and might’ve created companies fostering a bigger cluster of aerospace companies in Ontario as well…. This is 10 years of Ontario aerospace cluster development wasted if you ask me… BUT I’m happy that Canada is against subsidies. We should truly be in a world where the best product wins. But, unfortunately, this is not how it works in the aerospace industry. So uber kudos to this company for being able to do what it did NOT ONLY without subsidies BUT ALSO in a world where everyone else out there gets them. And I hope no politician is going to play this in their favor because they are asleep at the wheel; including their knee-jerk reaction to the Airbus deals with Iran. They woke up 2 days before Airbus announced the deal and figured maybe they should drop the sanctions (so, do we care about the sanctions? Or is money more important? What’s the message here?). As if Bombardier could turn around in 2 days and counter deals that were probably months or years in the making by Airbus. And NOT kudos to Canada for being so unsupportive of its aerospace industry. It’s one thing to just NOT help it (fine, let’s get rid of all subsidies, I’ll agree to that) but it’s another thing to not step up at G8, G20, etc to raise the issue of subsidies and try to get to a semblance of a level playing field. I would love if my government asked other supposed “free market” countries to all play with the same rules. The only thing it needs to do is raise the issue. To just stand up and say “enough”. No subsidies needed. But alas, this will never happen. Canada will not support its aerospace industry. It won’t even fight for it. Sitting on hands, having champagne at G8, build artificial lakes. What a spineless and useless bunch. They make me sick.