British aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman has resumed production of the Islander aircraft in the United Kingdom.
The production of this utility aircraft began in 1967. However, less than a year later, the manufacturing was moved to Romania to keep up with production costs and demand. In June 2023, Britten-Norman announced that the Islander would once again be manufactured in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, due to rising costs in Romania.
“We are immensely proud to bring production back to the UK, where our manufacturing story began nearly seven decades ago,” William Hynett, chief executive officer of Britten-Norman, said. “This move underlines our dedication to the highest standards of quality, innovation, and the resurgence of British aerospace manufacturing.”
The Islander aircraft is a versatile and reliable twin-engine utility aircraft known for its durability and adaptability. It features a distinctive high-wing design, which provides excellent visibility for both the crew and passengers.
The Islander is used for a wide range of missions, including passenger transport, cargo hauling, surveillance, and search-and-rescue operations. It was also developed into a multirole military transport aircraft called the Defender.
The first Islander aircraft produced in the UK since the relocation is expected to roll off the assembly line in May 2024. Looking ahead, Britten-Norman plans to quadruple new aircraft production by 2027.