AgustaWestland’s family of new-generation, twin-engine, intermediate-to-medium size helicopters–the AW139, AW169 and AW189–garnered the major share of the news from Italy’s Finmeccanica here at NBAA 2013.
The Avincis Group recently signed an order for one AW139, two AW169s and two AW189s. The AW139 and two AW169s will be used for emergency medical operations in Sicily. Meanwhile, Bond Aviation plans to operate the other two AW189s for offshore work in the North Sea, flying out of the UK.
The Avincis order is part of a deal that could see the company buying up to 16 AgustaWestland helicopters. According to Martine Whittaker, Avincis director of fleet and engineering, “Every day lives and livelihoods depend on the missions we fly, and AgustaWestland is an important partner in our future growth.”
Separately, AgustaWestland announced that the fleet of AW139 helicopters operated by Gulf Helicopters, based in Doha, Qatar, had passed 40,000 flight hours. Gulf Helicopters operates 15 AW139s and has three more on order. It is also an AgustaWestland authorized service center for the AW139 and recently became an authorized training center, too.
“We warmly welcome Gulf Helicopters to our growing network of authorized training centers,” said John Ponsonby, senior vice president of global customer support and training for AgustaWestland. The training center operates an AW139 level-B full-flight simulator certified by the UK’s CAA.
Mohamed Al Mohannadi, CEO of Gulf Helicopters, said, “It is indeed a natural progression for Gulf Helicopters Training Academy, which is an EASA Part 147 training organization, to become an authorized training center for an OEM. We are already providing training to third-party users and expect to attract more clients due to our excellent training services, experience and location.”