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.
The first of five “block one” new production presidential helicopters arrived at Lockheed Martin’s Owego, N.Y. facility last month for systems integration, paint and interior. The VH-71s are based on the AgustaWestland EH-101 and will be operated by the Marine Corps. A follow-on “block two” of 23 additional helicopters with more advanced capabilities will join the fleet beginning in 2013. Block one helicopters also include four test aircraft.
Shortly after its entry into service in December with Mumbai, India-based Heligo Charters, an AgustaWestland AW139 performed a medical evacuation 217 nm off the coast. The destination was a seismic survey ship. Offshore operator Heligo Charters recently received CAR145 Maintenance Organization Approval, making it the first helicopter company in India to comply with these requirements.