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Sun, Jul 13, 2008

Diamond Outlines Plans For A Post-Thielert Future

Offers DA42 Position Holders Incentives To Transfer Orders

In a customer communique sent hours after Diamond Aircraft publicly announced its intent to forego bidding for the assets of troubled Thielert Aircraft Engines, the planemaker made it clear it plans for a future without TAE powerplants in Diamond planes.

But Diamond also said it continues to work to provide existing customers flying behind Thielert diesels with the best support it can, given the circumstances.

"As we expect no major improvements from TAE during the ongoing insolvency, we are focusing our efforts to support Diamond customers with TAE engines as best we can," Diamond wrote Friday. "We are actively working on the technical challenges needed to be able to manufacture and overhaul select TAE parts for the EASA STCs we are pursuing."

Diamond reiterated it's actively pursuing a new diesel engine option, in the form of the Austro Engines AE 300 currently in certification testing... but admits that's little comfort to current owners of Thielert-powered Diamonds, or for anyone still waiting for their DA42s to be delivered.

"We are therefore working on the details of a program that will combine a retrofit path to the AE 300 Austro Engines turbo-diesel engine with some targeted financial support to assist with non-covered warranty costs for the TAE engines until Austro Engine retrofits are available," the planemaker said, adding it expects availability of AE 300 retrofits for DA42s in the North American market by fall 2009.

"We understand that our DA42 position holders are looking to decide what to do with their investment in DA42 positions," Diamond continued. "We are working on a program to enable DA42 position holders to move their deposits to new DA42 NG (Austro engine, 170 hp dual turbo-diesel) or DA42 L360 (Lycoming, 180 hp IO-360 avgas engines) orders, taking into account the loyalty of our customer base, some of whom have been waiting for their DA42 for several years."

The company also plans to offer Twin Star position holders credit towards another Diamond aircraft. "Of course, should any customer not want to transfer his or her order, we will offer an option to get a deposit refund instead," the planemaker added.

Diamond says it will provide further updates on its plans at Oshkosh.

"While all of us in the Diamond family -- customers, service centers, distributors and Diamond Aircraft – are negatively affected by the TAE insolvency to varying degrees, in the interest of our customers and business partners we are doing our utmost to make the best of a difficult situation," the planemaker concludes. "We aspire to provide you with programs that will give you choices, and a better opportunity to make the best out of the hand we all have been dealt."

FMI: www.diamondair.com

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