British plane builder Britten-Norman has confirmed it will return its aircraft production back to the United Kingdom (UK) after moving manufacturing to Eastern Europe in the late 1960s.
Britten-Norman announced on June 12, 2023, that it plans to increase production rates and to repatriate aircraft production to its historic home in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.
Britten-Norman will invest in new jigs and tooling to create two additional production lines as well as modernizing production and decarbonizing the site with new sustainable energy initiatives.
The company said that the move comes after it revealed its famous light utility aircraft, Islander, will launch as a zero emissions plane in 2026
Interest has also been sparked by the “introduction of finance and leasing options for the resurgent sub-regional aircraft market”.
“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” commented CEO, William Hynett OBE.
There will be a recruitment drive in the coming months from the UK’s Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area.
The company is looking for aircraft fitters and technicians, production engineering and supply chain roles.
In addition to the ramp up in production, the company will be investing in its supply chain and spare parts stockholdings to support its existing operators.
Britten-Norman will retain its 34,000sq ft. stronghold at Solent Airport Daedalus, home of the final assembly line for the Islander.
Britten-Norman has built over 1,250 aircraft and has customers in more than 100 countries.
The Islander is famed for its multi-use design, in which it can be converted into executive, commuter, freight and special mission fit options (including air ambulance, parachuting, crop spraying and aerial survey).
The companies second aircraft, Defender, is used for military intelligence, counter-terrorism, surveillance, reconnaissance, maritime patrol and special missions.
Founders John Britten and Desmond Norman started the business in 1965.
According to Britten-Norman the aircraft builder is the UK’s only sovereign commercial aircraft manufacturer.