Longview Aviation Capital, the parent of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Viking Air, has announced that its production lines for the Dash 8-400 at Toronto Downsview and DHC-6-400s at Calgary and Victoria Int'l have been suspended effective March 20, 2020.

The decision will affect approximately 800 employees or 65% of De Havilland's current workforce and 180 employees or 40% of Viking current staff.

The fund said the move was taken in cooperation with customers and suppliers and in light of "significantly reduced airline activity" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Canadian manufacturers will continue to provide support and technical service for all existing aircraft.

Longview also clarified that its other units, including firefighter conversions performed by Longview Aviation Services and its leasing interests, will continue to operate normally.

While the period of suspension has not been defined, Longview said it hoped to "restart aircraft manufacturing operations as conditions improve". It added that both De Havilland and Viking had "business continuity plans to ensure the companies are set up to serve customers and have reorganized working arrangements to prevent the spread of any illness while still allowing vital customer service and product support work to continue".