De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, emerging as a surprise star of the Dubai Airshow, landed a tentative agreement from Dubai-based Palma Holding Ltd. for 20 Dash 8-400s on Nov. 18, adding to a three-aircraft firm order unveiled on the eve of the show.

“We have leased new Dash 8-400 aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir and Falcon Aviation, and we see many more opportunities for this versatile aircraft,” Palma president Moulay Omar Alaoui said. He would not divulge possible operators for the new aircraft, saying only that “news will come soon.”

Separately, Palma Holding unit Palma Capital, De Havilland, and Export Development Canada unveiled an MOU to help operators finance Dash 8-400 acquisitions.

“We see this as an important milestone to work on creating opportunity development in the regional aircraft sector,” Alaoui said.

The Palma MOU pushed De Havilland’s Dubai Airshow haul to 23 commitments, including a firm order from Nigeria’s Elin Group business conglomerate announced Nov. 16. Taken together, the deals represent votes of confidence for the newly reformed company.

Part of Bombardier until it was purchased by Canadian holding company Longview Capital, De Havilland has been operating in is current from only since June 1. Some have expressed doubts about the Dash 8-400’s long-term future as an in-production program under Longview. COO Todd Young insists that not only will the Dash 8-400 survive—it will become part of a larger family.

 “We are talking about what can we do with this current platform—whether it be enhancements to the current model itself, or new variations,” he said, adding that both stretched and truncated versions would be considered. "We are looking forward to building aircraft for many years to come.”

Sean Broderick, sean.broderick@aviationweek.com