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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Orders Aplenty for AgustaWestland During Paris Air Show

Purchases of 10 each from Era Group and Lease Corporation International (LCI) lead an active tradeshow at Le Bourget in June.

By Andrew Parker, Editor-in-Chief

AgustaWestland made public a flurry of orders during the Paris Air Show involving operators that span various sectors of the civil helicopter industry. Large orders of 10 aircraft each from Era Group and Lease Corporation International (LCI) headlined the take for the Anglo-Italian helicopter OEM.

Era Group purchased 10 AW189s for offshore oil and gas transportation, following the sale of five helicopters to Era in July 2012. The order comes as the AW189 starts full-scale production at AgustaWestland’s facility in Vergiate, Italy. EASA approval of the variant is expected in summer 2013, with handover of the first two offshore AW189s projected before year’s end. The manufacturer is testing six aircraft as part of the development of the AW189, consisting of four prototypes and two pre-production airframes that have tallied upwards of 1,500 flight hours through mid-June.

Libra Group subsidiary LCI placed an order for five AW139s, three AW169s and two AW189s in Paris. LCI’s helicopter division will employ the rotorcraft in a variety of missions, including offshore transport, SAR and air medical. The 10-ship purchase adds to a $400-million order for AW189s, AW169s and AW139s placed in 2012. The AW139s under the new order are set to arrive during second half 2013, with the AW189s and AW169s to follow in 2014.

Six EMS-configured AW119Kx helicopters will enter service starting in late 2013 under an agreement with Minneapolis-based Life Link III. The Life Link contract includes crew and maintenance training at AgustaWestland’s production facility in Philadelphia. The AW119Kx features Garmin G1000H avionics. Life Link provides helicopter EMS in areas across Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.

 

Two AW119Ke helicopters are headed to Kestrel Aviation in 2013. Photos courtesy of AgustaWestland

 

Mumbai, India-based Kestrel Aviation is adding two model AW119Ke helicopters to another pair of the type. The VIP-configured aircraft will join a pair of already in service AW119Kes during fourth quarter 2013.

A trio of EMS-equipped AW169s is headed to Elitaliana, an Italian operator. The order adds to a purchase of another three helicopters in 2011. Elitaliana also conducts search and rescue (SAR), utility and passenger transport missions with its current fleet of four AW109s in the Grand variant and two AW109 Power light twins.

Starspeed in the United Kingdom has bought an AW169 for VIP transport, adding to an order for another of the type. AgustaWestland anticipates certification of the AW169 in 2014.

The Mauritanian Air Force will employ four AW109s in border patrol and reconnaissance missions under an order with AgustaWestland. Delivery of the homeland security-configured helicopters is set to begin in mid-2014, and the agreement includes a training and support package.

 

OHI Group purchased another AW139 duo for its Brazil fleet.

 

OHI Group will also add a pair of AW139s in offshore setup to its fleet consisting of nine of the type. AgustaWestland Philadelphia will assemble the AW139s, with handover scheduled in the coming months. OHI Group is looking at incorporating other AgustaWestland models into its fleet, which operates primarily in Brazil.

South Korea’s Samsung Techwin has purchased two AW139s to add to its fleet of two corporate/utility AW139s delivered in 2009 and 2010. The delivery schedule for the new Samsung Techwin aircraft is set to occur in second half 2014.

 

Samsung Techwin has committed to buying another pair of AW139s.

 

An undisclosed U.S. corporate operator has also ordered two AW139s from AgustaWestland. The sale comes after the purchase of another AW139 duo to the U.S. VIP market in March 2012.

Denmark’s Bel Air is another recent recipient of an AW139. The helicopter joins a fleet that totals six AW139s, with an AW189 scheduled to enter service with Bel Air following EASA certification of the type. The AW139 will transport passengers to offshore oil and gas platforms in the North Sea. Bel Air is the official AW139 service center in Denmark.

AgustaWestland has also taken its first order for an AW139 in Senegal, agreeing to provide in-country training and support services for the Senegal Air Force.

Related: Airframe News

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