Wildfire demand pushes production at North Saanich water bomber parts site

By Christine van Reeuwyk
Ladysmith Chronicle
April 6, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

While finalizing contracts with Europe for two dozen new firefighting planes, De Havilland Canada has amped up local production. Over the last six months or so, the company bolstered up to 300 employees at its North Saanich site (formerly Viking Air), where parts are made in anticipation of assembly in Calgary, according to Neil Sweeney, vice-president of corporate affairs. “Knock on wood, heavily, our HR people have been very good at recruiting. We’ve done recruiting fairs and been pleasantly surprised by the people who want to get into aerospace,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t holes to fill.” The Canadair CL-215 and CL-415 aircraft have been a critical part of European and North American aerial firefighting fleets for more than 50 years. …In 2016, Viking (now De Havilland) bought the Canadair program – which has been around since the mid-1960s – from Bombardier.

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