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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: AgustaWestland Builds Order Book

HELI-EXPO 2007

AgustaWestland nearly doubled the number of helicopter orders it booked last year and is working off a total backlog of more than $11.2 billion.

The company’s CEO, Giuseppe Orsi, reported at Heli-Expo that the Finmeccanica subsidiary with major operations in Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States took orders for 274 of its civil helicopters. That was nearly twice as many as it booked for 2005, he said.

His senior vice president of commercial business, Renzo Lunardi, said the company’s percentage of revenue coming from commercial sales is on the rise. It totaled about 16 percent of annual revenues in 2004. The company expects it to reach 40 percent in 2010, he said.

AgustaWestland booked a number of important orders at Heli-Expo, including one for two the medium twin AW139 from the Los Angeles City Fire Dept. They are the first AW139s to be purchased for the firefighting mission. The aircraft already has been selected for search-and-rescue, emergency medical service and law enforcement missions.

The department and manufacturer "created an aircraft that will meet our department’s current needs and those well into the future", said L.A. Fire Chief Doug Barry. "The AW139 helicopter will provide greater performance through its increased air speed and allow for a greater margin of safety through engine performance." The first ship is due for delivery next year.

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