Britten-Norman, the aircraft manufacturer, has delivered the first aircraft from its newly established leasing service. The company’s leasing arrangements have previously been the preserve of customers who are enjoying the benefits of Britten-Norman’s bespoke aircraft delivery programme. The new service is now open to any qualifying customer that has a compatible leasing requirement, be that based on a project, a season or a long-term requirement.

At the present time the lease options are limited to the company’s 260hp and 300hp variant Islander aircraft, either in the cargo or commuter configurations. From 2019, the roll out of the new service will expand into turbine aircraft and future plans will also allow the leasing of the mission ready, Defender surveillance aircraft, bringing affordable intelligence gathering to new markets.

Britten-Norman’s Head of Business Development, Lara Harrison, says: “Aircraft can be offered with the latest Garmin avionics and upgraded interiors. With long-term leases we are also able to offer customised livery that will integrate the leased aircraft seamlessly into the operator’s fleet.”

The first customer to lease an aircraft under the new programme is the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS). Since 1948 the organisation has been a provider of infrastructure-oriented operations to the islands, including roles such as mail delivery, casevac and fishery patrol. FIGAS has been quick to adapt to support the surge of eco-related tourism that has developed within the Falklands in recent years, with regular service to more than 30 airfield locations across the East and West Mainland. 

To meet summertime demand between November and March, FIGAS has taken a seasonal lease from Britten-Norman of one of its 260hp piston engine Islanders. The aircraft being provided has been extensively upgraded in a tight, 4-week programme and now boasts a fully integrated Garmin cockpit which will be a direct match for the recent upgrades that FIGAS is undertaking with the rest of its fleet. 

The journey to the Falklands is a voyage of epic proportions. Departing from the company’s facility in the UK at 51°N bound for Stanley Airport at 51°S, the aircraft travelled 12,000 miles to get to destination. After a difficult winter transatlantic crossing heading north towards the Arctic Circle, the aircraft turned southbound to travel the entire length of the Americas. From the barren terrain of Canada’s Nunavut region to Florida’s Key West, the aircraft then crossed the Caribbean and the Equator before following the length of the Andes Cordillera to the southern extremes of Tierra del Fuego, making its final sea crossing from Cape Horn to Stanley and arriving to a warm welcome from the Falklanders.

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REF: 1112BN/210119