Statement from Channel Islands Air Search 16 May 2017
Comment from John Fitzgerald, Chief Officer, Channel Islands Air Search: "Despite having met all contractual obligations since commissioning Britten-Norman in March 2014 to build and fit a bespoke search and rescue aircraft for Channel Islands Air Search (CIAS), we have just been informed there has been yet another and this time significant delay, to the arrival of the new aircraft and it is now estimated to arrive in the spring of 2018."
Simon Wade, Production Director at Britten-Norman said: "I would like to express, to the community of the Channel Islands, Britten-Norman's sincere regret for the delays experienced in the delivery of the new Search & Rescue Islander. The aircraft, which has been designed in close partnership with CIAS, will incorporate some of the latest in enhanced technologies and will confirm CIAS' reputation as an operator of the most sophisticated, yet economical and unique, fixed-wing airborne Search & Rescue aircraft in the world.
"Installation of some of these complex systems has taken time to finalise in order to ensure that the product offered will provide optimum performance. The architecture has been designed as a bespoke fit-out for CIAS and requires extensive validation and verification prior to submission to the regulator for approval. Whilst the company has done everything possible to ensure that this important, life-saving aircraft is completed in the shortest timescale possible, programme delays have been unavoidable.
"As a gesture of our immense goodwill to CIAS, and in recognition of the people of the Channel Islands whose personal generosity enabled this project, we have agreed with CIAS that we will cover any additional maintenance costs with the interim support aircraft until such time as the new aircraft is delivered. Britten-Norman has also undertaken, at its own expense, to enhance the interim aircraft role equipment fit. We remain committed to delivering the new aircraft at the very earliest opportunity."
John Fitzgerald concluded: "While this protracted delay is not what any of us would have wanted, I would like to assure Channel Islanders that it is very much 'business as usual' as our volunteer crews continue to provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year cover to the waters in and around the Channel Islands. We remain indebted to everyone who has supported us in fundraising for the new aircraft and those who continue to support us in raising the estimated £140,000 a year it takes to keep the service operational."