Aircraft Manufacturer Britten-Norman is going to expand its manufacturing and maintenance facilities at Solent Airport, creating 50 new jobs.
The firm, which is well-known for its Islander light plane, has signed a lease for two new purpose-built hangars at the airport in Lee-On-Solent.
The new hangars will provide the company with modern, air-side accommodation to further grow its business as part of its commitment to UK exports.
Britten-Norman has been at the site since 2010, and the company intends to utilise the airfield as its primary aircraft operating base for UK 'civil operations'.
The expansion will allow the group’s military support business, BN Defence, to use its existing facilities at Daedalus to expand output to meet increased demand in the military MRO sector.
Britten-NormanChief Executive, William Hynett, said:
“Our commitment to Daedalus started when we moved our airfield operations here in 2010.
"Our military operations centre, BN Defence, has created over 60 jobs on the site and we now intend to utilise the airfield as our primary aircraft operating base for our UK civil operations as well, creating or safeguarding another 50 jobs.
"To date we have invested over £20 million into the local community and now look forward to increasing that investment further.”
A founding member of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Britten-Norman has occupied various parts of the airfield since it emerged out of restricted Government ownership eight years ago.
It now occupies three hangars with a total footprint of 34,000sq ft.
Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport said:
“Britten-Norman is one of the country’s best-kept secrets and yet it is a true aircraft manufacturing success story, exporting aircraft from our local area to the rest of the world.
"The company’s investment in the Gosport peninsula is great news for local jobs, and gives a real opportunity to the next generation of apprentices that are currently being trained by CEMAST and BN Academy.”
Councillor Seán Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council, said:
“We are delighted that Britten-Norman has chosen to expand its business operations at Solent Airport.
"This move comes at a time when the Council has published its Vision for the next five years at the airfield, which will build on the significant investment it has made to date.
"Attracting and retaining companies such as Britten-Norman, who are equally committed to growing and safeguarding jobs, is important and I would like to congratulate them on their many successes to date.”
The additional 13,000sq ft will provide a new aircraft final assembly plant for the group’s manufacturing subsidiary, Britten-Norman Aircraft.
The hangars will also provide a dedicated space for Britten-Norman’s aerospace services business, BN Aviation.
From the site, BN Aviation will provide OEM aircraft refurbishment, EASA Part 145 MRO services, international field servicing and specialist avionics and mission systems integration.
The two new hangars were constructed by Fareham Borough Council at the Daedalus Enterprise Zone.