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.
Bel Air Aviation
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.
AgustaWestland last month announced the delivery of the 200th AW139. It was one of two aircraft accepted by Hong Kong-based Sky Shuttle Helicopters, which in November changed its name from Heli Express. These were the first two of six aircraft Sky Shuttle ordered in June 2007. The company claims to operate more than 60 helicopter flights a day.
Just a few short years ago, the manufacturers of small, low-cost helicopters targeted Asia as the market of the future for their brand of inexpensive vertical-lift aircraft. And few onlookers took them seriously. Today it seems that some of these small helicopter crafters are laughing all the way to the bank.
With its acquisition of Italian counterpart Elilario, Spanish operator Grupo Inaer has become one of Europe’s largest helicopter operators, with a fleet of nearly 220 rotorcraft. The deal is valued at ?60.8 million ($91 million). Whether the new entity will be called Elilario or Inaer Italy has yet to be decided.
The first AW119Ke single-turbine helicopter with a Versace interior has been ordered by a private customer in Russia, AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7550) announced here at EBACE. It has a six-seat cabin and will be flown in VIP/corporate operations. The manufacturer claims to have sold 14 commercial helicopters of various types in Russia.
Asia accounted for about 20 percent of AgustaWestland’s orders last year and the European helicopter maker therefore sees the region as a growing market. The booming Chinese economy is a big factor in this assessment, as is the European helicopter maker’s presence in the People’s Republic through an expanding relationship with the Chinese aerospace industry.
Recent orders for some 45 aircraft in the offshore transport configuration have confirmed a rising demand for the AW139 in the Middle East. Here at the Dubai Air Show, AgustaWestland (Stand C310) is exhibiting both the offshore transport and VIP versions of the AW139 as well as a VIP A109 Grand.
Mitsui Bussan Aerospace of Japan planned to announce this morning it has signed a contract valued at approximately $100 million for the purchase of 12 AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters. Deliveries are scheduled to begin next year.
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