The Italian Army confirmed that it is buying 16 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters in a co-production deal with AgustaWestland that is worth approximately $1.23 billion. This is the first international sale of the CH-47F, a major upgrade to the evergreen Chinook that is already in service with the U.S. Army.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7020) recently delivered the first of a pair of AW139s to its official Japanese distributor, Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, marking the first civilian use of the type in the Asian country.
Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, AgustaWestland’s distributor for the AW139 medium twin in Japan, plans to deliver the first of two AW139s to All Nippon Helicopter (ANH) in the middle of the year. ANH will conduct electronic newsgathering missions for Nippon Housou Kyoukai, Japan’s national broadcasting corporation.
AgustaWestland last month unveiled a special variant of the A109S Grand light twin, dubbed Da Vinci, with improved avionics. Launch customer Rega, Switzerland’s air rescue organization, has placed firm orders for 11 copies of the light-twin helicopter and has options for four more. The Da Vincis will succeed the agency’s A109K2s.
Russia is a ripe market for Western helicopters, and at least one company, AgustaWestland, plans to establish manufacturing there. Overall there is considerable potential for more Western rotorcraft penetration in the Russian market especially in the civil, law enforcement and oil-and-gas sectors, with a demand that could grow to 450 to 500 helicopters by 2015.
Executives at two of the world’s largest helicopter makers insisted at Heli-Expo that the industry can continue to flourish even in the face of a severe economic downturn.
The Los Angeles Fire Department’s decision to acquire AgustaWestland AW139s came down to a simple value equation: nearly twice the horsepower of their current Bell 412s for only a small increase in direct operating costs. “The bang you get for the buck is much cheaper,” said battalion chief Joseph Foley.
Citing a backlog of more than ?10 billion ($12.8 billion) and increases in both revenue and orders during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the same period the year before, AgustaWestland executives on Saturday night said they remain “reasonably and realistically optimistic” about the future of their company as well as that of the industry at large.
AgustaWestland (Booth No. 3728) has signed a service center network agreement with Heli-One of Canada to provide support for CHC Helicopter’s fleet of AW139 helicopters in Europe, North America and Australia. CHC provides helicopter services to the oil and gas industry, as well as search-and-rescue services to government agencies in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland’s helicopters address what has become a sweet spot in today’s economy, the medium helicopter segment. And according to AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi, the company is faring well during the worldwide economic downturn.
How is the world economy affecting AgustaWestland?