Britten-Norman is celebrating the opening of two new hangars at its facility on Solent airfield (Daedalus), near Portsmouth. Though the ceremony had to be subdued due to COVID-19, the company was pleased to be surrounded, at a suitable distance, by supporters, R&D partners and customers.
Britten-Norman has been designing and building aircraft for over 60 years and has historic links to over 120 countries. Guests toured the new facilities that B-N will use to expand its new build provision and services maintaining aircraft already in operation around the world. The Islander takes over 20,000 man-hours to build and has approximately 6,000 custom-designed parts.
At the event, Britten-Norman showcased its latest new-build aircraft, an Islander ready to be delivered to the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) which uses these aircraft in a wide variety of life-line roles.
The company also used the opening as an opportunity to thank its graduating class of apprentices: Abby Sanderson, Edward Donnelly and Sam Heath, who this month completed a four-year placement with the company. During the apprenticeship they were able to be involved with Britten-Norman's specialist manufacturing processes as well as maintenance, avionics systems, aircraft design and engineering. All three have secured jobs with B-N.
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, comments: “I was honoured to present this year's fantastic apprentices Abby, Sam and Ed with their certificates knowing they have completed their four-year programme and secured jobs with Britten Norman. Britten Norman's apprenticeship scheme contributes to keeping key industrial skills thriving in our local area and since 2010 it has invested over 23 million pounds into the Gosport peninsular.”
Councillor Seán Woodward, executive leader of Fareham Borough Council, adds: “There was a great past to Daedalus, but just five years ago it didn't have a future. Fareham Borough Council turned the site around, and now we have many exciting businesses coming here. Britten-Norman has been critical to that success. The history of Britten-Norman is a fantastic one. It was a very great pleasure to officially open Britten-Norman's new hangars, to honour the past and look to the future.”
William Hynett, CEO of Britten-Norman, concludes: “Britten-Norman is a founding member of Solent airfield, having helped turn it from a Government operation into the successful civil space it is today. The airfield is a thriving hub, home to an exciting and diverse cluster of SMEs. Together we are at the forefront of innovation in Britain's SME aerospace sector. Our new facilities will become a hub for aircraft maintenance and manufacturing. The investment also extends to future generations. Our apprenticeship scheme has been running for over 15 years, and it has been a delight to see our latest class develop. I was thrilled to officially welcome our graduating apprentices into the Britten-Norman team.”