In January, a newly leased aircraft from Britten-Norman arrived in the Falkland Islands to provide an additional resource to the Falkland Islands Government Air Service during the height of the summer season. The plan was to carry out a 100 hours inspection and to fit flotation tyres before the aircraft – registration G-BCEN – would begin to carry passengers.
The aircraft left the United Kingdom with all of the necessary commercial air transport documentation, which allowed the ferry flight to be routed to the Falkland Islands. In the meantime, FIGAS has completed an initial visual inspection of the aircraft and has found a number of defects that need to be rectified before it can enter into service. These will be factored in to the maintenance works once all of the documentation is complete.
However, while FIGAS has received the maintenance work packs to allow the 100 hours inspection to be carried out, the aircraft cannot enter service until FIGAS receives the Continued Airworthiness documentation that allows an aircraft to fly legally and which is the responsibility of Britten-Norman Ltd to produce. To date, Britten-Norman has not been in a position to provide this documentation and only when this is received will the 100 hours inspection be completed.
FIG is in regular contact with Britten-Norman to address this issue, given that the agreement was that a serviceable aircraft would be provided to FIG with all necessary approvals and certificates, so that passenger operations could begin immediately after the maintenance inspection. FIG will not start paying the leasing costs for the loan aircraft until it is fit to fly.
FIG, FIGAS and Britten-Norman are doing everything possible to get the aircraft operational, but will not compromise on the high standards currently employed at FIGAS where passenger safety is paramount.