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De Havilland aircraft manufacturing plant a ‘game-changer’ for Alberta

Wheatland County massive new facility will employ up to 1,500 workers in state-of-the-art aircraft assembly, training and office complex just east of Calgary
De Havilland Aircraft plans a multi-faceted manufacturing and maintenance facility on a near 1,500-acre site in Wheatland County. | Submitted

A new aircraft manufacturing facility just east of Calgary is expected to be a game-changer for the economy of Wheatland County, Alberta, which has been chosen by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited as the site of its new plant.

This new facility will be called De Havilland Field and will consist of a new, state-of-the-art aircraft assembly facility, runway, parts manufacturing and distribution centres and maintenance repair and overhaul centre. In addition, educational space for training the workforce of the future is planned as well as general office buildings and a De Havilland Canada aircraft museum.

“This is a huge announcement for the Alberta economy, a game-changing investment for Alberta manufacturing and our burgeoning aviation sector,” said Alberta premier Jason Kenny.

De Havilland Field will be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft, which was launched earlier this year, the DHC-6 Twin Otter as well as the Dash 8-400 aircraft. The company is currently working towards bringing the DHC-6 Twin Otter and Dash 8-400 aircraft back into production.
The new De Havilland Field will have access to a large, young and diverse labour pool in Alberta, and a world-class international airport at Calgary that can support efficient parts distribution to a global customer base, according to a company statement.

“We anticipate that once in full operation, there will be up to 1500 jobs located at De Havilland Field,” the statement added.

De Havilland said it has purchased nearly 1,500 acres hectares of land in Wheatland County, which has a population of about 9,000 people.

Construction could begin as early as next year, with its first buildings operational by 2025,  though the project's full build-out could take years.

The development of De Havilland Field is subject to an amendment to the Wheatland County Area Structure Plan as well as re-zoning by the County. De Havilland expects to submit these applications shortly and is committed to working with Wheatland County and Wheatland County residents as it moves through the Area Structure Plan and re-zoning processes. In addition, there are approval processes required by Transport Canada and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

The Wheatland operations would complement De Havilland’s current parts manufacturing facilities in Victoria, B.C. and its new engineering and customer support centre in Toronto, the company noted.