Britten-Norman soldiers on refurbing BN2B Islanders
The Britten-Norman Group (B-N) (Stand No. K72) has sold to Aero-Tropics Air Services, the flight-operations division of Australia’s Lip-Air, the first of six BN2B-20 Islanders it bought back from Adelaide-based Surveillance Australia to meet demand for good used aircraft. The remaining five units will be available from next month.
The six Islanders previously flew Coastwatch maritime-surveillance missions, mainly around northern Australian shore, and are being offered with air-conditioned cabin, autopilot, extended-range wingtip fuel tanks, IFR cockpit and observation windows. An aircraft on show here at Singapore has flown as a demonstrator in Australia. It arrived at the end of the first leg of its flight from New South Wales to the UK factory, where it will undergo a full refurbishment along with engine, propeller and landing-gear overhaul and inspection.
B-N chief executive William Hynett told AIN that the company has an order backlog for eight aircraft–“probably the highest number we’ve had in 15 years.” Typically, B-N has carried a low backlog while preparing a number of aircraft on spec each year, enabling it to provide a short delivery lead time.
Hynett said two of the six recently acquired aircraft will likely be leased to Australian customers, possibly for further surveillance duties, while the remainder will resume more traditional civil guises and will be placed in the European, North American or Caribbean markets. Around 1,250 aircraft were produced during the type’s more than 40 years and over 800 remain in service. The manufacturer continues to offer new-build Islanders, assembled under license in Romania and shipped or flown to the UK. A further batch of five aircraft has begun production in a new facility near Bucharest.