A new airplane manufacturing plant will be built east of Calgary, according to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
While on a business trip promoting Alberta to those in Toronto Wednesday morning, Kenney made the announcement, calling it “historic” for the province’s economy.
The plant owned by De Havilland is said to employ approximately 1,500 people.
“Just another very major sign of the economic growth, job opportunities and diversification happening that will be three different lines of aircraft being produced in Alberta,” Kenney said.
“We hope moving to a fourth line eventually following the construction of this major plant.”
The company says the facility, dubbed De Havilland Field, is to be located in Wheatland County between the communities of Chestermere and Strathmore.
De Havilland says it has acquired about 600 hectares of land in the area.
It says construction could begin as early as next year, with its first buildings operational by 2025 — though the project’s full buildout could take years.
De Havilland Field is to be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft, DHC Twin Otter and the Dash 8-400 aircraft.
Company co-owner Sherry Brydson said the full project will take a long time to complete and will depend on the growth trajectory of the business.
“De Havilland Field, like Rome — I have to warn you — won’t be built in a day. We anticipate the full buildout will take somewhere between 10 and 15 years. We’re planning to take it slowly and seriously ? and we’re going to make sure it works.”
Company co-owner Rob McDonald said De Havilland doesn’t need government handouts and aims to be self-sufficient.
“We need people to buy our planes. We don’t really need or want support from the government,” he told a news conference.
The premier also hinted at “more big news” to come in the aviation sector in the weeks ahead.
— With files from The Canadian Press