Britten-Norman secures additional funding to upscale Islander production   

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British-based aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman has announced it has secured new investment from a group of investors led by 4D Capital Partners LLP (“4D”), a Private Equity firm that focuses on operational improvement and business transformation. The new investors are making an undisclosed amount of funds available to Britten-Norman to bolster its working capital, increase production rates, and secure the company’s long-term growth. 

Britten-Norman is the original designer and manufacturer of the Islander, one of the world’s most iconic and versatile commercial light twin aircraft. In 2024 the company celebrates 70 years since it was first established at Bembridge Airport on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of the UK. 

The Islander (and its military and special operations variant, the Defender) has been in continuous since the first prototype left the production line in 1965. Since then, the model has been upgraded many times and the rugged propellor plane can be found working in some of the harshest enhancements on the planet. 

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With 1,300 aircraft built to date, the Islander is known throughout the world as the market-leading STOL performance small twin-engined aircraft. The type can be found operating in more than 100 countries over six continents, the Islander has accumulated around 20 million flight hours and often is the single transport type that provides vital lifelines to small and remote communities. 

“The board has been in an extended process to secure the right investment that would allow Britten-Norman to deliver its plans to scale up output to meet demand,” said Britten-Norman Chief Executive, William Hynett OBE. “Britten-Norman is a brand with a rich and entrepreneurial aviation heritage that takes great responsibility in playing a vitally important role in supporting its worldwide customer base.” 

“These customers are the bedrock of their societies, often providing critical infrastructure or life-critical services such as maritime search and rescue and medical evacuation. Following a great deal of interest in the business, we are pleased to have identified a new investor that shares our vision and strategy,” he added. 

The latest Islander is offered with a full IFR glass cockpit as standard, all-window seating, enlarged baggage access, and a higher Max Take-off Weight (MTOW) than the earlier variants. The aircraft can be equipped with a variety of engine configurations including Lycoming 260hp normally aspirated piston and 300hp fuel injected piston and Rolls-Royce 320hp or 400hp turboprop. 

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Alex Silk, founder of 4D, said: “From the outset, we saw the latent value in Britten-Norman, which has been underperforming since the pandemic. In addition to bringing working capital, our team will work closely with management to help the company ramp up production to meet the exciting demand for its sought-after Islander aircraft”. 

Available in a variety of configurations, the latest Islander aircraft can be equipped to meet a wide range of roles including passenger and cargo transport, medevac, aerial surveillance, and special missions. 

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