In the wake of buying out Bell’s 25-percent stake in the AB139 medium-twin helicopter, AgustaWestland has rebranded the fast-selling model as the AW139. AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi told HAI Convention News that “the helicopter’s success was part of the reasoning behind our decision to realign Bell/Agusta Aerospace. We also wanted to consolidate the company’s industrial presence in the U.S.
“The AW139 is a very successful helicopter with a high level of customer expectation,” he added. “Almost 60 aircraft were ordered in 2005 and the cumulative order book stands at more than 150.”
Establishing an assembly line at Philadelphia in addition to the original factory in Vergiate, Italy, will expand AgustaWestland’s capability to satisfy U.S. customer demands, he said. But until that happens, the company has capacity to increase production in Italy.