November 18, 2019: At the Dubai Air Show, De Havilland Canada announced the first orders with the sale of three Dash 8-400 turboprops to Elin Group of Nigeria. At list prices, the three-aircraft order is worth $99 million.

The aircraft will be supported by Nigerian airline, Aerocontractors, in areas including maintenance, spare parts, and logistics. Aerocontractors has been operating various versions of the Dash 8 for almost 30 years.

It also signed a deal to make Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) of the UAE its first authorised service facility (ASF) in the Middle East.

Elin Group has diversified business interests, including real estate, power generation, agriculture, and aviation. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2020 and will be used to transport oil and gas personnel in and out of sometimes challenging airstrips in the Niger Delta.

“We are in the private charter transport services sector,” said Caroline Pritheesh, Elin Group’s managing director. “We’re moving on to improve the efficiency and transport services in international oil companies.

“The Dash 8-400 turboprop has been operating in Nigeria with other carriers and we have seen how this aircraft can support our diverse operational requirements.”

Meanwhile, the agreement with FAS means the company will be able to offer heavy maintenance services for the Dash 8-400 from its Abu Dhabi base. The company also operates three of the type itself and provides MRO support to five more in service with Qazaq Air in Kazakhstan.

FAS has been operating the Dash 8-400 for around five years, with its bread and butter business in the oil and gas industry.

The new ASF will be the first in the Middle East and North Africa; the nearest ASFs are currently based in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Airlines is a major user of the Dash 8-400 - and India.

“We obviously have a number of ASFs throughout the world but, with the growth in Africa and the Middle East, we’ve been spending a lot of time looking at what support network we need and have been working with FAS for a year, putting this agreement together,” said Todd Young, De Havilland Canada’s chief operating officer.

Six months into its emergence as a separate company resurrecting the storied de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, DHC is focusing much of its overall sales effort on the North American, African, and Asia/Middle East regional-aviation markets. The goal is to build the order book for the Dash 8-400, its only aircraft-manufacturing programme.

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