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Monday, June 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: AW139s Enter HK Service

COMMERCIAL

Sky Shuttle Helicopters’ first two AW139 medium twin helicopters have entered service in Hong Kong. The company provides regular passenger service to Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen, PRC, using AW139s and Sikorsky S-76C+s. Until last year, Sky Shuttle was known as Heli Express, which itself grew out of East Asia Airlines and Helicopters Hong Kong.

The new AW139’s entry into service was celebrated with an official ceremony on April 16. So was the opening of Sky Shuttle’s new helipad and passenger lounge at the Hong Kong Heliport (Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal). The new facility offers 6,000-square-feet of check-in and passenger lounge space. That’s not all. Sky Shuttle is planning to add four more AW139s in the near future, and build a second helipad.

"Scheduled commercial passenger service is very much of a niche market for helicopters, with few successful operations in existence today: Sky Shuttle is one of those," said Ray Jaworowski, senior aerospace analyst Forecast International. "Sikorsky’s S-76 has had considerable success in this market and, indeed, Sky Shuttle operates five S-76s. Sky Shuttle’s introduction of the AW139 into its fleet is an indication of some encroachment by the AgustaWestland model into the scheduled passenger service market."

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