The Falkland Islands Government Aviation Service (FIGAS) is gearing up to welcome two new Britten-Norman BN2B-26 Islanders. Once they are both delivered, the aircraft will bring the operator's fleet to six Islanders.
The investment, approved by the islands' government, will be used to meet the Falklands' increasing popularity as a tourist destination. Passenger numbers have risen from 5,800 in 2011/12 to 8,800 in 2017/18, a trend that FIGAS expects to continue in the future.
The first of the two new aircraft will be delivered in the summer, with the second scheduled for early 2020. Both Islanders are configured for commuter roles and equipped with the Gamin G600TXi avionics suite, System 55X autopilot and Spidertracks. Britten-Norman's team of avionics engineers will deliver Garmin avionics training in the Falklands upon the first aircraft's arrival.
Britten-Norman Aircraft commercial head Grahame Stone says: “We have long been a part of the Falkland Islands community, supporting both visitors and locals who rely on the FIGAS service every day. We are delighted to support FIGAS' increased operations through the delivery of two new Islanders. Our recent investment in additional hangar space has increased new build line capacity and we look forward to adding this very welcome order to our delivery schedule.”
FIGAS has operated Islanders since October 1979. The service has gradually evolved from air ambulance and mail transportation in 1948 to offer passenger, freight, fishery patrol and scenic flights, with tourists and local passengers making up most of the traffic. The Islander's performance as a high-frequency and short-flight platform makes it the ideal aircraft for hopping to almost 30 different airfields located in the Falkland Islands' east and west mainlands.