UK-based sub-regional aircraft manufacturer, Britten-Norman, has announced plans to increase production rates and to repatriate aircraft production to its historic home in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. The move is a major development for the British airframer, which has been manufacturing its aircraft in Eastern Europe since the late 1960s.
Britten-Norman’s plans also include investing in new jigs and tooling to create two additional production lines, as well as modernising its production processes and decarbonising the Bembridge site with new sustainable energy initiatives.
The investment is in preparation for intensified interest in its best-selling Islander model, following the planned launch of an OEM, zero-emissions Islander aircraft in 2026. The company is also seeing wider customer interest resulting from the introduction of finance and leasing options for the resurgent sub-regional aircraft market.
There are also opportunities for aerospace professionals. In the coming months Britten-Norman will be embarking on a recruitment campaign, further boosting job creation in the UK’s Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area. The focus will include aircraft fitters and technicians, production engineering and supply chain roles. The expansion will also create new traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities on the Isle of Wight and in South Hampshire.
In addition to the ramp up in production, the company also plans to invest in its supply chain and spare parts stock holdings in order to support its existing operators.
“The project is a great success story for the British aircraft manufacturing industry. I am very proud to be involved in this next chapter at Britten-Norman,” commented the company’s chief executive, William Hynett.
Britten-Norman will retain its 34,000 sq ft. facility at Solent Airport Daedalus, home of the final assembly line for the Islander. The site also provides OEM aircraft refurbishment, EASA Part 145 MRO services, international field servicing, and specialist avionics and mission systems integration. As a Garmin-approved dealer, the company offers services to the wider General Aviation community.