in Aerospace

Britten-Norman signs new $6 million aircraft contract

Posted 19 July 2012 · Add Comment

At this year's Farnborough International Air Show Britten-Norman announced a new contract for the supply of aircraft to a new customer located in the Asia Pacific region.

The contract is for the supply of two Rolls Royce powered turbine Islanders, which will be supplied in accordance with an exacting specification as closely defined by the customer.

The aircraft will be two of the first aircraft to be supplied under a new supplier agreement with the company’s key sub contractor in Bucharest, Romania. In the past these aircraft have been supplied from Britten-Norman’s supplier as ‘green’ aircraft, which were then flown to the UK for final fit out. In a major strategy review in 2010, the company decided to commence repatriation of aspects of its manufacturing, resulting in these aircraft being the first to be released under a new agreement where sub components are manufactured at the sub contractor and then shipped to the UK for assembly, fit out, first flight and delivery.

The original agreement to manufacture aircraft in Eastern Europe back in 1968 was ground breaking and Britten-Norman is again leading the trend in UK manufacturing by being amongst the first to be reversing the previous trend of outsourcing to Eastern Europe, the sub continent and the Far East, thereby helping to create valuable skilled and high tech employment in the UK.

In keeping with the new standard for all Islanders, the aircraft will be fitted out with some of the latest refinements available from Britten-Norman, including the Garmin G600 ‘glass’ PFD / MFD cockpit along with Garmin GTN 750 / 650 touch screen avionics. The aircraft will also be equipped with fully integrated S-Tec 55X autopilots. Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for 2013.

Another ground breaking element of this delivery is that the aircraft are to be test flown and delivered from the company’s new manufacturing facilities at Daedalus Airfield, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, UK, following which they will be disassembled and sea freighted to the customer for reassembly on site at destination. In making this move, the company will ensure that the aircraft are delivered at a significantly lower cost.

Britten-Norman’s business development manager, Lara Harrison, commented: “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, who was responsible for negotiating and signing the new contract, commented: “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.”

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