Britten-Norman Plans Return to Isle of Wight for Aircraft Production

British company will build its signature Islander twin at Bembridge, its historic home.

Britten-Norman plans to resume manufacturing Islander aircraft on the Isle of Wight. [Courtesy: Britten-Norman]

U.K.-based aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman plans to boost production and return aircraft assembly operations to the company’s historic home of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. This represents a big move for the company, which has been manufacturing its airplanes in Eastern Europe since the late 1960s.

As part of the revamped production plan, the company announced it will invest in new jigs and tooling to add two more production lines while updating its facilities overall and implementing new initiatives around sustainable energy.

The changes are happening as Britten-Norman prepares for expected interest in the launch of a zero-emissions version of its signature aircraft, the twin-engine Islander, planned for 2026. New financing and leasing options have also generated interest among customers.

“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 company chief executive William Hynett.

The company also plans to begin a campaign to recruit employees, mainly aircraft mechanics, technicians, production engineers, and supply chain employees. In addition to increasing production, Britten-Norman will invest in its stock of spare parts to support existing operators.

According to Britten-Norman, it will keep its 34,000-square-foot final assembly facility for the Islander at Solent Airport Daedalus, which also provides refurbishment and other services for its own aircraft and certain services for the general aviation community.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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