Australia-based air charter operator Torres Strait Air has signed an LOI with Britten-Norman to order 10 new Islander aircraft as part of a five year fleet renewal programme valued at $25 million.
CEO Daniel Takai says: “Our commitment to this investment is for the people of Torres Strait and their future. The world is challenged with increasing sea levels. Our island communities, our people's homes, are at sea level and every effort must be made to offset carbon emissions. We act now while continuing to provide the highest levels of aviation safety, comfort, efficiency, reliability and affordability to our people, and to those who come to our pristine waters and beautiful Islands.”
Torres Strait Air's existing fleet of seven BN Islanders forms the backbone of the local community and its economy, operating vital sub-regional air transport services across Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula. Based at Horn Island, Australia's 10th largest international airport and a major hub of Islander operations, the airline also holds cultural importance and is the first to be 100 per cent indigenous Torres Strait Islander First Nation Australia owned. The company's AOC also enables the operation of international flights between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The aircraft will be among the first to be produced from the UK manufacturer's new production line at Bembridge airport on the Isle of Wight. In May 2023, Britten-Norman announced the repatriation and onshoring of its entire production line of new aircraft to Bembridge. All new Islander aircraft feature full IFR glass cockpit technology, all window seating, enlarged baggage access as standard, as well as a higher All Up Mass than earlier variants.
Torres Strait Air operates in one of the world's most protected regions, the Torres Strait Islands, which are home to some of the most ecologically complex biodiversity and diverse marine flora and fauna in the Indo-Pacific. Britten-Norman's 'Green Futures' scheme will further enable the airline to operate responsibly in the region, driving a move towards net-zero eco-tourism. The scheme allows operators who have purchased directly from the OEM to trade in their aircraft for the manufacturer's zero carbon Islander product when it becomes commercially available.