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Britten-Norman Reshapes the Future of Sub-Regional Aircraft Manufacturing in the UK

by Anna

In a momentous move, British aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman has commenced production of the iconic Islander aircraft in the UK, marking the return of production to its flagship manufacturing site on the Isle of Wight. After years of strategic planning and a decision to repatriate production from Eastern Europe, Britten-Norman is poised to revolutionize the sub-regional aircraft manufacturing sector.

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The Islander aircraft, renowned worldwide, has a manufacturing legacy spanning over half a century. Its return to production in the UK signifies Britten-Norman’s commitment to British manufacturing and the aerospace sector’s ongoing innovation. The first UK-produced Islander aircraft is scheduled for completion in May 2024.

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 21st marked the official opening of the new production line at the Bembridge manufacturing facility, attended by Bob Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight.

This strategic move not only solidifies Britten-Norman’s position as a global leader in sub-regional aircraft manufacturing but also contributes to the growth and advancement of the British aerospace industry. With a renewed focus on British craftsmanship and engineering, Britten-Norman aims to enhance production capabilities, streamline the supply chain, and accelerate innovation in aircraft design and manufacturing.

The Bembridge manufacturing site, integral to Britten-Norman’s history, is central to this repatriation, symbolizing a significant homecoming for the company. The return to the UK is expected to drive a fourfold increase in new aircraft production by 2027, fueling economic growth and job creation in the Isle of Wight and the broader Solent area.

A recruitment campaign is already underway, creating job opportunities in roles such as aircraft fitters and technicians, production engineering, and supply chain management. Additionally, the expansion will provide traineeships and apprenticeships on the Isle of Wight and in South Hampshire.

William Hynett, Chief Executive of Britten-Norman, expressed his enthusiasm for this pivotal moment, stating, “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.”

Island MP Bob Seely remarked, “The Islander’s return to the Isle of Wight is an important and exciting day. I am delighted that Britten-Norman has made the decision to bring back the production line of their iconic plane to where it was first built, on the Isle of Wight. It’s a major vote of confidence in the future of the Island and a significant investment for our skilled manufacturing base.”

The repatriation of production to Bembridge heralds a new chapter in Britten-Norman’s illustrious history, promising thrilling developments and opportunities for the company and the UK aerospace sector as a whole.

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