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?
South Korea-based Samsung Techwin has placed an order for two AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin helicopters. The company plans to use the helicopters for corporate and VIP transport, marking the first time the manufacturer (Booth No. 3728) has made a commercial sale in South Korea.
Aerospace Filtration Systems (AFS) of St. Louis announced recently it received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from Transport Canada for its engine inlet barrier filter systems for the Eurocopter EC 130 B4 and AS 350 B3 helicopters with dual hydraulic systems. European (EASA) approval is in process.
European manufacturer AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is exhibiting four helicopters at Heli-Expo and plans to announce new orders and provide briefings on the AW109/119 and 139 models here today. On display are a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) AW139, a Grand configured for executive transport, a high-gross-weight AW119ke Koala and an AW139 equipped for offshore operations.
AgustaWestland has signed a six-year contract with the Porto-based Center of Excellence for Innovation in the Automotive Industry (CEIIA), which will thus extend its field of competence to aeronautics. The agreement is for research and development, design and engineering projects.