Britten Norman "Go Public" at Lee-On-Solent
Britten-Norman announce manufacture of Defender aircraft in new facilities at Lee-On-Solent.The airfield 'open secret' is now public knowledge. Britten-Norman announced at the end of May 2010 that the company has begun manufacture and assembly of Defender aircraft in new facilities at Lee-On-Solent airfield.
Manufacturing capability has been relocated back in the UK from Romania, creating sixty new jobs for the aerospace industry at Lee-On-Solent. This is exciting news for aviation and the local economy, which has been blighted by uncertainty and a reluctance to invest in the aviation sector since the Royal Navy left the Royal Naval Air Station and former home of the Fleet Air Arm in 1996.
BBC South Today covered the story with an excellent news feature - a real good news story in the current economic climate. If we find a link to it on-line we'll add it here. Contingency Today story.
This marks yet another remarkable turnaround in fortures for aviation at Lee-On-Solent. The Lee Flying Association FA played a modest but pivotal role in this success. Having succeeded in retaining General Aviation operations at the airfield in 2008 against all odds, the LFA challenged SEEDA to finally hold an "Aviation Sector Day", more than two years after taking ownership of the airfield "for the development of aviation and marine businesses".
This Aviation Workshop was held in the summer of 2008, and having been asked who could be invited to attend, Britten Norman, Kemble Air Services, and other GA organisations suggested by LFA participated. B-N had previously tried twice to bring aviation sector employment to Lee-On-Solent but had been told by SEEDA that 'it was not clear what uses the site would be put to, and long-term consultation was underway precluding short-term investment. In turn B-N challenged SEEDA as to whether Daedalus really was now (in 2008) open for aviation and investment. They have certainly demonstrated in 2010 the value of the old saw "if it first you don't succeed, try and try again".
Many congratulations to B-N, SEEDA, MCA and the Department for Transport for working together to return valuable aerospace jobs to Daedalus Airfield once again!