FIFTY jobs are to be created at an aircraft manufacturer in Lee-on-the-Solent as it expands its facilities.
Britten-Norman has announced plans to expand its civil aircraft manufacturing and maintenance facilities at Solent Airport (Daedalus).
Britten-Norman chief executive William Hynett said: ‘Our commitment to Daedalus started when we moved our airfield operations here in 2010.
‘Our military operations centre, BN Defence, has created over 60 jobs on the site and we now intend to utilise the airfield as our primary aircraft operating base for our UK civil operations as well, creating another 50 jobs.
‘To date we have invested over £20m into the local community and now look forward to increasing that investment further.’
The company has signed a lease for two new purpose-built hangars that form part of Fareham Borough Council’s newly established aviation park Solent Airport.
The new hangars will provide the company with modern, airside accommodation to grow its business as part of its commitment to UK exports.
Specifically, the additional 13,000sq ft will provide a new aircraft final assembly plant for the group’s manufacturing subsidiary, Britten-Norman Aircraft, as well as providing a dedicated space for Britten-Norman’s aerospace services business, BN Aviation.
From this site, BN Aviation will provide OEM aircraft refurbishment, EASA Part 145 MRO services, international field servicing and specialist avionics and mission systems integration. As a Garmin approved dealer, BN Aviation will also provide services to the wider general aviation community. The expansion will allow the group’s military support business, BN Defence, to use its existing facilities at Daedalus to expand output to meet increased demand.
Councillor Sean Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘We are delighted that Britten-Norman has chosen to expand its business operations at Solent Airport.
‘This move comes at a time when the council has published its vision for the next five years at the airfield, which will build on the significant investment it has made to date.
‘Attracting and retaining companies such as Britten-Norman, who are equally committed to growing and safeguarding jobs, is important and I would like to congratulate them on their many successes to date.’
A founding member of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Britten-Norman has occupied various parts of the airfield since it emerged out of restricted government ownership eight years ago. It now occupies three hangars with a total footprint of 34,000sq ft.
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, said: ‘Britten-Norman is one of the country’s best-kept secrets and yet it is a true aircraft manufacturing success story, exporting aircraft from our local area to the rest of the world.
‘The company’s investment in the Gosport peninsula is great news for local jobs, and gives a real opportunity to the next generation of apprentices that are currently being trained by CEMAST and BN Academy.'