Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 1740) announced at Heli-Expo’09 the creation of Sikorsky Global Helicopters, a new business unit made up of the manufacturer’s commercial products, including the S-76, S-92 and H-92 platforms, as well as the Schweizer helicopter line.
As part of the rebranding of the commercial products, the S-300c, S-300CBi, S-333 and S-434 helicopters will no longer retain the Schweizer name. “The Schweizer name will disappear,” said Marc Poland, the executive vice president of the new business unit. He added that Schweizer will still exist as a subsidiary and all non-rotor-wing products will retain the Schweizer name, including the test facility in Elmira, N.Y.
Keystone’s engine and helicopter services and Sikorsky’s Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) charter and fractional services will also fall under the umbrella of Sikorsky Global Helicopters.
Like most of the other major helicopter manufacturers here at Heli-Expo, Sikorsky claims not to have been affected by the economic downturn. In fact, vice president and chief marketing officer Carey Bond said growth has been “staggering. I don’t know a helicopter company anywhere else in the world that’s had the level of growth that we’ve had,” he said.
Commercial sales totaled $1 billion last year, and Bond said the company continues to grow “robustly” on the military side. The backlog, which totals $13.2 billion, is also “very strong and very diversified,” he said.
“We’re in a good, solid position,” Bond said. “We’re going to have some challenges in 2009; everyone knows what the economic situation is. It’s out there, but we’re going to work our way through that.”
Bond said the company hasn’t seen “a mass exodus of customers” and even though some orders have been canceled–he didn’t say how many–other customers have been waiting in the wings to pick up the slots.
In other news, the company also announced that it has sold the first fully certified, commercial S-434, one of the helicopters within the new Sikorsky Global Helicopters business unit.
The helicopter, which incorporates the design and performance technologies of the Fire Scout VTUAV (vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle), is scheduled to be delivered in 2010 to Polish helicopter operator Aircom, which operates two S-333 series helicopters and one S-300 series. The company provides helicopter services for power line patrol, gas pipeline patrol and flight training.
“We have been impressed with the ease of maintenance and proved reliability of the aircraft’s predecessors and are pleased to be the launch customer for this exceptional value single-turbine helicopter,” said Aircom owner Eugenius Piechoczek.