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Manager: Traditional manufacturer Brett Norman was appointed in the midst of financial turmoil

Manager: Traditional manufacturer Brett Norman was appointed in the midst of financial turmoil

The British aircraft manufacturer is working to move production back to Great Britain. This appears to be more expensive than expected. Therefore Britten Norman is looking for new investors.

It was an unusual move. Last June, Britten Norman announced that it would close its factory near Bucharest. BN-2 Islander and Defender remanufactured back to UK from Romania after 55 years. Management cited higher costs in Eastern Europe as a reason.

The new factory, located at parent company BN Group's headquarters at Bembridge Airport on the Isle of Wight, opened last September. It complements the existing facility at Solent Airport near Portsmouth on the opposite coast of the island. Management hopes that proximity will increase efficiency in procurement and production, which should bring significant cost advantages.

An eight-fold increase in planned emissions

Brittain Norman wants to deliver the first BN-2 Islander to Great Britain as early as next summer. The company, which is majority owned by Oman's Zawawi Group, has big plans for what comes next. The goal is to increase production from two aircraft per year to eight aircraft within 24 months and then to 16 aircraft per year. Plans to convert aircraft to hydrogen propulsion should help.

But the costs of transporting production back to Great Britain appear enormous. BN Group's subsidiary Britten-Norman Aircraft Limited recently applied to the King's Bench Division of the High Court to appoint an administrator, such as the Aviation Data Portal CH Aviation He writes. “While the Board of Directors continues to engage in constructive discussions with the company’s key stakeholders, it has decided to submit documents to the court to protect the company’s position,” the report quoted a company spokesperson as saying. This will allow focus on achieving the right structure for any proposed new investment.

Significant loss in the 2021/22 financial year

Consultants have also been appointed to support the plans. The spokesman said that they “will help study options to secure the additional investments required.” Britten Norman's financial position deteriorated significantly in 2022. In the 2021/22 financial year, which ended at the end of March, the aircraft manufacturer reported a loss of £3.6m on sales of £8.9m. The company has not yet submitted its annual financial statements for 2022/23. The British Commercial Register lists it as 'overdue'.

A view from a resident of Britan Norman Island in Vegas in the Falkland Islands. Photo: Aero Telegraph

Britten-Norman's only products are the BN-2 Islander and its derivative Defender. It has been in production since 1965. To date, approximately 1,300 examples of the twin-engine turboprop aircraft have been built. This makes the two models among the best-selling European civil aircraft.

A civilian version with different variants and a military version

The BN-2 Islander has a maximum weight of three tons, a maximum speed of 273 kilometers per hour, and a minimum take-off distance of 370 metres. The passenger version can accommodate nine passengers. The Islander can also be ordered as an ambulance, cargo, special mission or VIP version. Defender is the military version.