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UK’s Britten-Norman signs MoU for two Islander aircraft

Rendering of a Britten-Norman Islander flying above Valetta, Malta
Rendering of a Britten-Norman Islander flying above Valetta, Malta © Britten-Norman

UK Plane manufacturer Britten-Norman has confirmed the signing of an MoU with Malta's Simon J Camilleri Holdings (SJC Holdings) for the acquisition of two factory-new turboprop aircraft, with an option for a third. SJC Holdings intends to create a new company, Gulf Med Aviation Services and will deploy the two across routes covering the Mediterranean, North Africa and Europe.

The Islander has an established reputation for its low operating costs and short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities, making it suitable for smaller and less accessible airports. With an eye on the future and the target of the airline industry to reduce carbon emissions, SJC Holdings has included an option to upgrade the aircraft joining 's Green Futures scheme, which gives the operator the opportunity to trade back their conventional aircraft for the next generation zero carbon powered Islander. The production variant of the hydrogen powered Islander is scheduled to enter service from late 2026. Over the years the Maltese government has used Islander aircraft in a multi-role capacity including a lifeline service for search and rescue operations around the island group's 200 miles of coastline.

The two aircraft will be amongst the first to be manufactured at Britten-Norman's UK production facilities at Bembridge, Isle of Wight and Solent Airport Daedalus and will be supported form Britten-Norman's Malta base.

Simon Camilleri, Chairman of SJC Holdings said “We are very pleased to announce our first with Britten-Norman our neighbours at Safi Aviation Park. We are pleased to announce plans for a new Maltese owned aviation business. Britten-Norman are great partners and have proven market leading aircraft in the STOL space with over 50 years of experience. Their commitment to evolving their product to zero carbon is perfectly aligned with our vision.”

Britten-Norman's Chief Executive, William Hynett said “Having made a commitment to develop our own operations in Malta, we are really pleased to have been introduced to SJC Group and are looking forward to working in close partnership to support their plans. The Islander is the ideal aircraft to complement SJC Group's expansion into fixed wing operations and our planned introduction of the hydrogen Islander will further assist in supporting SJC Group deliver sustainable aviation to Malta and the Mediterranean.”

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