Islands Development Company
BAN's World GazetteerU.K.
Islands Development Company, a Seychelles-based organisation, has entered into an agreement with Britten-Norman to purchase two new Islander aircraft to join its existing charter fleet operations. The aircraft purchased, both piston variants of the Islander, are due to be delivered by March 2022 and will be operating into some of the world's shortest runways.
The Islander has been a market leader for high frequency, rough terrain, and short take-off and landing operations since its inception. Renowned for its proven workhorse credentials, it is the only aircraft Islands Development Company says it could consider for this job: “Some of the islands we will be flying to have very short runways with some of them being grass, for example, 500m and 480m; the Islander is the only commercial aircraft that could make that,” comments Marcus Labrosse, general manager for IDC's Aviation department.
Labrosse is well versed in the Islander, having flown more than 2,000 hours in the aircraft. He goes on: “Although it has been more than 10 years since I last flew the aircraft, I'm looking forward to getting back into an Islander and am excited to experience the new glass cockpit.”
The Islanders will be delivered in a commuter role configuration with a custom interior. Both aircraft cockpits will be fitted with a Garmin touchscreen solution, including the GTN 750, as well as a Garmin weather radar, which is an essential requirement given the sometimes severe weather in the region.
Some of the destinations the aircraft will service are Desroches, the surrounding islands of the Amirantes and Cosmoledo Wizard Island, a favourite destination for fly fishing. It is often difficult to reach the islands via sea due to rough weather. “The Islander allows access via a 10 to 15-minute transfer, giving clients a more guaranteed transfer but also valuable time to enjoy their particular activities, be it fly fishing, snorkelling, picnics or simply exploring,” Labrosse adds.
Business development director at Britten-Norman Lara Harrison states: “Getting people to remote locations safely and affordably sits at the heart of every Islander operation. The Islander's STOL performance makes it second to none within its class and the aircraft has a proven track record in some of the world's most austere conditions. The reliability of the Islander makes it the clear choice for successful remote inter-island operations. We are really pleased to have the opportunity to support the Islands Development Company.”
The Islands Development Company's first delivery will be a BN2B-26 piston Islander, powered by twin 260 horsepower normally aspirated Lycoming O-540 engines. The second aircraft is a BN2B-20 piston Islander, powered by twin Lycoming injected IO-540 engines. The piston Islander operates with a take-off ground roll as low as just 189m. Maximum VFR range without the optional extended range tanks is 1,250km.