Australian air charter operator Torres Strait Air has recently inked a Letter of Intent (LOI) with UK manufacturer Britten-Norman
The agreement outlines the purchase of 10 brand-new Islander aircraft, marking a pivotal step in Torres Strait Air’s comprehensive 5-year fleet renewal program. The projected value of this program stands at an impressive $25 million.
Community Air Support
Torres Strait Air currently operates with a fleet of 7 Britten-Norman Islanders, which serve as a crucial lifeline for the local community and contribute significantly to the region’s economy.
These aircraft are pivotal in facilitating essential sub-regional air transport services across both the Torres Strait and the Cape York Peninsula.
Isle of Wight Production Line
The upcoming Islander aircraft acquisitions will be a part of Britten-Norman’s novel production line situated at Bembridge Airport on the Isle of Wight.
The announcement from Britten-Norman in May 2023 regarding the relocation and onshoring of their entire production line to Bembridge has set the stage for these new aircraft.
The forthcoming Islander models boast a range of upgrades, including full IFR glass cockpit technology, window seating for all passengers, enlarged and improved baggage access, and a higher All Up Mass compared to their earlier counterparts.
Torres Strait’s CEO comments
In light of this substantial investment, Daniel Takai, the CEO of Torres Strait Air, shares his insights on the significance of this move. He asserts, “Our commitment to this investment is not only for the people of Torres Strait today, but for their future as well.”
“As our world grapples with rising sea levels, our island communities—our people’s homes—are at risk. We must take proactive steps to mitigate carbon emissions.”
“This decision aligns with our dedication to providing top-tier aviation safety, comfort, efficiency, reliability, and affordability to our residents and the visitors who come to experience our pristine waters and breathtaking islands.”
Horn Island Base
Horn Island, Australia’s 10th largest international airport and a pivotal hub for Islander operations, is the operational base for Torres Strait Air.
What’s truly noteworthy is that this airline stands as a beacon of indigenous pride, as it is the first in Australia to be 100% owned by Torres Strait Islander First Nation.
Additionally, the airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) enables it to conduct international flights connecting Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Navigating Sensitive Ecosystems
The Torres Strait Islands are nestled within one of the world’s most protected regions, boasting intricate ecosystems and diverse marine life in the Indo-Pacific.
This region holds tremendous ecological importance due to its complex biodiversity and rich marine flora and fauna.
In alignment with these values, Britten-Norman’s “Green Futures” initiative is set to empower the airline to operate conscientiously in this pristine area, promoting a shift towards net-zero eco-tourism.
The “Green Futures” program introduced by Britten-Norman allows aircraft operators who have procured directly from the manufacturer to trade in their existing aircraft for the forthcoming zero-carbon Islander product as soon as it becomes commercially available.
This forward-thinking initiative not only underscores the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability but also echoes Torres Strait Air’s dedication to shaping a greener, more responsible future.