An EASA rule that takes effect next month opens the door to offshore oil-and-gas helicopter passengers’ using personal electronic devices (PED), and rotorcraft manufacturers say their designs are compatible with the use of PEDs in flight. However, European operators seem unenthusiastic about implementing the change despite its appeal to passengers.
Ostend, Belgium-based helicopter operator NHV will take over Norwegian competitor Blueway, the two firms announced today. The merger will create a 650-employee group, operating 59 helicopters and generating $270 million in annual revenues.
The Latin American market in general, and Brazil in particular, continue to be red-hot markets for rotorcraft manufacturers, driven by government sales and the expansion of the regional offshore energy market, especially in Mexico and Brazil. Altogether, the market represents 9.8 percent of global demand–but that number is increasing fast.
Aircraft maintenance plan provider JSSI is pushing harder into the red-hot helicopter market. The company recently hired Ray Weiser as its new helicopter program specialist and will soon unveil several programs aimed at the helicopter market, according to CEO Neil Book.
Among the eight AgustaWestland helicopters on display outside Finmeccanica’s pavilion (Static Display L1) at Farnborough Airshow 2014, half of them–the new, multi-role AW149, the 4.5-tonne class AW169 configured for emergency medical service along with the mockup of a military AW169, and the 8-tonne class AW189–illustrate the dual approach to helicopter configuration that AgustaWestland has embraced in the development of its newest rotorcraft. In particular, the two AW169s being shown here handily illustrate the results of this dual-approach concept.
Finmeccanica-AugustaWestland kicked off the Farnborough Airshow by announcing added “vertical lift” to its order book:
* Japan’s Yokohama City Fire Department has ordered a second AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter to further advance its operational capabilities. The department received its first AW139 last year, and the second is scheduled to enter service in 2015.
The companies have walked away from an agreement announced last year to partner on a new 5,000-pound helicopter. They continue to operate the HeliVert joint venture that produces AW139s for the Russian and CIS markets.
AgustaWestland arrived at EBACE 2014 with a GrandNew light-twin-engine helicopter and also brought a scale mockup of the exclusive VIP interior in the new AW169 light-intermediate twin. The GrandNew has secured more than 330 orders by 200-plus customers in nearly 40 countries.
China, as Asia’s largest prospective market for business aviation, always seemed an obvious choice as the location for the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE). But with demand for business aviation now bubbling in other parts of Asia, and the industry having to show patience in waiting for China to fulfill its potential, some have questioned whether organizer NBAA might consider freshening up the event in some other venue.
The Japan National Police Agency ordered another AgustaWestland AW139, the Italian helicopter manufacturer and its distributor Mitsui Bussan Aerospace announced at ABACE yesterday. The medium twin is scheduled to enter service next year for operations in Kagoshima Prefecture. More than 40 AgustaWestland helicopters are currently supporting law enforcement throughout various Japanese prefectures. According to AgustaWestland, Japan already uses the AW139 for critical missions such as search-and-rescue, firefighting and disaster relief.
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