February 10, 2009
Reports in the European aviation press have indicated that as many as 180 employees at Diamond’s Wiener Neustadt, Austria, factory have been laid off. Not exactly true, says Diamond president Peter Maurer. “In Austria you can’t just summarily fire people,” he said. “The state makes you register any intended layoffs well before the actual layoffs occur.”
Such registrations have occurred, but exact numbers were not made public.
“With the recent European certification of Diamond’s new Austro engine in our new DA42NG TwinStar, I strongly doubt if all of those registered will actually be furloughed. And these will be furloughs—not layoffs,” Maurer said.
Diamond’s diesel-powered airplane deliveries have been stalled while completed airframes await Diamond’s 170-horsepower, 2-liter, AE 300 Austro engines. FAA certification of the AE 300s in DA42NGs is expected soon. The AE 300s are more fuel-efficient than the 130-horsepower Thielert engines they will replace and are expected to have 1,000-hour recommended TBOs from the start. Retrofit approvals to existing Thielert-powered DA42s are expected later this year. Diamond decided to build its own turbodiesel engines after Thielert Aircraft Engines—its sole supplier of turbodiesel powerplants—declared bankruptcy in April 2008.
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