Early next year, Helsinki, Finland-based operator Copterline will restart one of the few scheduled public helicopter routes in the world. It discontinued the flight between the neighboring capitals of Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, after the 2005 fatal crash of a Sikorsky S-76C+ (see AIN, October, page 74).
Brazilian-based Synergy Aerospace has ordered 12 AgustaWestland helicopters, including AW109 Powers, Grands and AW139s. They will be used in corporate, executive and offshore transport. The contract is part of a 2006 framework agreement. Meanwhile, Spanish marine safety agency Sasemar has ordered two additional AW139s in search-and-rescue (SAR) configuration, to be used for SAR and water-pollution detection.
At the Farnborough Air Show last month, helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland unveiled its new Agusta A109S Grand, a medium twin-engine rotorcraft designed to fill the gap between the Agusta A109 Power and the Bell/Agusta AB139, now entering service. The helicopter is expected to receive certification early next year, with deliveries to begin in the second half of the year.
AgustaWestland has announced orders for six AW139s in Australia. The Queensland Government and CHC, in New South Wales, have each purchased three of the medium twin helicopters. They will operate them in emergency medical and rescue services. The helicopter manufacturer has also won a contract from the Japan National Police Agency to supply five AW109 Power light twins for law-enforcement missions.
AgustaWestland recently disclosed it is moving production of the A119 Koala single-engine helicopter from Italy to Philadelphia. Flanked by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and local politicians, company officials broke ground on March 2 on a manufacturing and final assembly plant at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, where about 20 Koalas will be built each year.
Under pressure from its competitors, Eurocopter–still the number-one manufacturer in the civil helicopter market–is working hard to cope with a rapid production ramp-up of its own helicopters at a time when rivals are introducing a dizzying array of new models.
Keystone Helicopter, a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft, signed an agreement to provide maintenance and completion services to Seacor’s aviation division, which includes Era Helicopters, Era Leasing and EraMed. The Seacor fleet includes AgustaWestland A109s, A119s and AW139s; Eurocopter EC 135s, EC 145s and AS 350s; and the Sikorsky S-76++.
Senior Táxi Aéreo of Brazil plans to begin operating three AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters in an off-shore transport role beginning in May. It will mark the entrance of the medium-twin, with a passenger capacity of 15, in support of the Brazilian offshore oil and gas market. Senior Táxi Aéreo, based in Rio de Janeiro, operates a fleet of medium-size helicopters and is one of the leading operators in the Brazilian off-shore transport market.
A CMC Electronics SureSight M-Series infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS) sensor has been installed on an AgustaWestland AW139 for a corporate customer by Edwards & Associates, a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter. The avionics installation specialist expects to receive the FAA STC for the installation soon.