Britten-Norman, the British aircraft manufacturer, has begun the manufacture of its iconic Islander aircraft back on English soil. The company transitioned its manufacturing operations to Eastern Europe back in the 1960s. The first UK-manufactured Islander should roll off the new production line in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, in May 2024.
The Islander is the world’s leading sub-regional aircraft and with 1,300 aircraft built so far, the Islander is known throughout the world as the market leading short take-off and landing (STOL) performance twin-engine turboprop aircraft.
A ribbon-cutting took place at an event on Thursday, September 21, as the new production line at the Bembridge manufacturing facility was officially opened by Bob Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight. The relocation signifies Britten-Norman’s commitment to British manufacturing and its dedication to fostering innovation within the aerospace sector. The Bembridge manufacturing site has been at the centre of Britten-Norman’s operations since its inception, and this newly established plant marks a significant homecoming for the company. With a fresh focus on British craftsmanship and engineering, Britten-Norman can now improve its production capabilities, increase supply chain efficiency, and accelerate innovation in aircraft design and manufacturing.
Britten-Norman is aiming for new aircraft production to increase by 400% by 2027 with strong economic performance and increased revenue anticipated. The company has already embarked on a recruitment campaign, further boosting job creation in the UK’s Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area, with roles including aircraft fitters and technicians, production engineering and supply chain management.
Chief Executive of Britten-Norman, William Hynett, expressed his enthusiasm for this pivotal moment: “We are immensely proud to bring production back to the UK, where our manufacturing story began nearly seven decades ago. This move underlines our dedication to the highest standards of quality, innovation, and the resurgence of British aerospace manufacturing. We look forward to a bright future as we continue to build world-class aircraft right here in the UK.”