AIRCRAFT firm Britten-Norman has signed a deal worth almost £5m to export two aircraft to the Pacific region.
The two Islander aircraft will be test-flown and sent to the east in bits from the company’s new manufacturing facilities at the Daedalus airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent.
When it reaches the firm’s customer - which has not been named - the aircraft will be reassembled.
The aircraft will be the first Britten-Norman planes to be assembled entirely within the UK since 1968, though some of the parts will be manufactured in Romania.
The Islanders are powered by Rolls-Royce turbine engines.
Britten-Norman’s Business Development Manager, Lara Harrison, said: ‘We learnt a lot from our time supporting Cirrus Design with their European aircraft reassembly line and have now put a similar principal in place for our own customers.
‘Re-assembly should take no longer than 10 days and can be completed at any EASA/FAA approved facility.
‘We intend to reduce that time frame with future orders.
‘With many of our customers located significant distances from the UK manufacturing facility, we can now avoid the expense and risk associated with ferry flying aircraft.’
David Baddams, Sales Director for Britten-Norman Pty Ltd, who was responsible for negotiating and signing the new contract, added: ‘We have worked closely with this customer in order to agree the final specification.
‘Although the initial specification was for the lower priced reciprocating Lycoming engined Islander aircraft, the final decision was to opt for the turbine variant. In making this decision, the customer had taken into account both passenger comfort and the practicalities of obtaining the appropriate fuel for the operation given the remote Pacific island destination.
‘We are very pleased to be under contract to supply these aircraft for a role that epitomises the very spirit of what the Islander is capable of, and best known for – efficient short sector operations to a remote island strip.’