De Havilland Aircraft of Canada confirmed on Monday that it is pausing production of the Dash 8-Q400 turboprop indefinitely. The reason involves the lack of new orders for the aircraft, which has just over a dozen units in its backlog.

The Canadian manufacturer told CH-Aviation that “We will not be producing ‘whitetails’ and market demand will guide our future production plans for the Dash 8-400 aircraft. While the very challenging market conditions being faced by the industry may lead to a pause in production this year, De Havilland Canada has not determined the duration of such a pause if one were to occur. ”

The assembly line pause was revealed by Leeham News, citing information received by DHC suppliers. The planemaker did not say whether more planes would be assembled before the halt.

It is unclear exactly how many Dash 8 are pending in the DHC backlog. The aircraft had orders from companies such as Ethiopian Airlines, TAAH, Air Tanzania, Biman Bangladesh and SpiceJet, in addition to a French private customer. These customers are estimated to have between 13 and 17 planes on order, a small quantity to keep the assembly line active.

Another problem for the turboprop situation is the fact that the plant where it is assembled belongs to Bombardier, its former manufacturer, which sold the program rights to Longview Aviation Capital in 2019. But Dash 8 continued to be assembled in Toronto Downsview, through a leasing contract until 2023.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines took delivery of a Dash 8 in November 2020 (DHC)

DHC, based in Victoria, could transfer the assembly line to its plant, where it produces models like theTwin-Otter, however, the distance between the two cities and the costs involved make the hypothesis unlikely.

Dash 8 is currently the only competitor to the ATR that remains in production. The Canadian plane had good acceptance in the market, but even that was not able to keep it in the Bombardier portfolio, which preferred to pass it along, as it did with other programs such as the CRJ regional jets, acquired by Mitsubishi, and the C Series, sold to Airbus.