Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Lease Corporation International (LCI) of Dublin, Ireland, have signed an agreement covering purchase of a fleet of AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters, a deal which, including options, is valued at more than $398 million.
A helicopter operating in the North Sea suffers a lightning strike which damages a critical part, forcing the pilots to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking the only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action. Technicians assess the extent of the damage and dispatch a replacement part within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base.
AgustaWestland and Honeywell are introducing a new “Phase 7” version of the Primus Epic avionics suite for the AW139 rotorcraft. The upgrade, which will be available soon for new-build aircraft as well as for retrofit, is about more than modernizing the operating procedures of the avionics, it marks a step-change in the manufacturer’s approach to developing the cockpits of its growing family of aircraft.
AgustaWestland has introduced some impressive new aircraft in recent Heli-Expo shows. But its presence at this year’s event here in Dallas is all about the collective strength of its growing family of products. The company is showcasing its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
The AgustaWestland AW119 Koala and variants of the Eurocopter EC155 are the latest helicopters to be added to the list of aircraft for which Tanis Aircraft Products offers preheat systems. Bob Krueger, the company’s president, told AIN, “We’ve been doing preheat systems for general aviation since 1974 and about 20 years ago added the helicopter products. At this point we have about 50 different preheat configurations for various helicopters.”
Several filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Bell Helicopter Textron in late December provide strong hints of new product announcements likely to come next month at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo convention in Dallas. According to the filings, Bell is requesting trademarks for “525SMT,” “Magellan” and “407GT.”
The tumultuous reign of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be over, but the damage it has inflicted on Italy’s economy and the ongoing euro crisis will likely linger well past his latest criminal trial.
At face value, the December 1 departure of Pier Francesco Guarguaglini as chairman of Finmeccanica should herald a new dawn for the Italian aerospace and defense group. But his successor Giuseppe Orsi, who continues to serve as chief executive too, faces a monumental task to rebuild the company’s business plan in the face of third quarter losses of €324 million ($422 million).
AgustaWestland hopes that the sales success of its AW139 helicopter bodes well for the two new models destined to join its product family.
Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) is convinced that its decision to expand globally, driven partly by local competition in the offshore oil and gas industry, is proving correct. The company now has contracts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Spain, Pakistan, Eritrea, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Australia, India, Afghanistan and Indonesia, and more in the pipeline.