Britten-Norman brings Islander manufacturing back to the UK

Britten-Norman's Islander, seen here in special mission guise for telecoms innovator Stratospheric Platforms. Photo: Britten-Norman

Britten-Norman is to manufacture its iconic islander aircraft in the UK again. Production lines are already being installed at the company’s original home at Bembridge Airport on the Isle of Wight.

The Islander has been manufactured in Romania since the late 1960s and the “repatriation” back to the UK has come about because new interest in the aircraft.

Britten-Norman said it will invest in new jigs and tooling to create two additional production lines as well as modernising production and decarbonising the site with new sustainable energy initiatives.

The company is recruiting for a variety of jobs including aircraft fitters and technicians, production engineering and supply chain roles. The expansion will also create new traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities.

Britten-Norman production

Forecasted production ramp up. Photo: Britten-Norman

The intensified interest in the Islander follows the planned launch of a zero-emissions Islander aircraft in 2026, as well as new finance and leasing options.

In April 2023, the company agreed a merger with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions backed by a consortium of investors comprising HydrogenOne, Safran Corporate Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Safran, a leading aerospace company), and the UAE-based investment firm Strategic Development Fund (SDF). Together they will invest up to £10m in the new company.

“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,” said Chief Executive, William Hynett OBE.

Britten-Norman will retain its 34,000sq ft. stronghold 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.



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