Following the recent success at Heli-Expo 2022 in Dallas, Texas, March 8- 10, Leonardo confirms its strong position in the commercial helicopter market announcing further advancements with recent sales of 23 aircraft of various models to several operators across Europe, North America and Latin America, primarily for VIP/corporate transport, energy support, and search-and-rescue.
Total sales include 15 AW139 intermediate twins, three AW169s light intermediate, three AW109 GrandNew light twins, one AW119Kx single engine and one AW189 super medium twin-engine helicopter. Combined orders are valued at nearly 256 million EUR, with deliveries between 2022 and 2023. Beyond sales, recent months also marked the introduction of new services offered by newly accepted aircraft in various countries.
In the VIP/corporate market, official distributor for UK & Ireland Sloane Helicopters ordered three AW109 GrandNew aircraft. Since the beginning of the collaboration with Sloane, 91 Leonardo commercial helicopters have been delivered to operators and private customers in UK and Ireland and Leonardo continues to be the largest manufacturer of VIP/corporate helicopters in the UK. By summer 2023, an additional ten aircraft will have been supplied to the region, making this the best performance ever registered by a distributor in UK and Ireland. In the UK Leonardo also plans to further enhance support services in the future as the commercial fleet grows stronger. Sloane said: “We are delighted and honored to continue our close partnership with Leonardo. The AW109 series, together with the AW169, have consolidated their positions as the benchmark for helicopters in the corporate/VIP market. As the sole distributor in the region for nearly 27 years, Sloane Helicopters has an unrivalled understanding of customer requirements and continues to leverage this expertise by offering industry leading solutions throughout the sales process and after sales support.” Adding to this expansion in the European VIP light twin market, in Italy the first AW109 Trekker light twin delivered in 2021 is owned by Hoverfly for charter services.
Comexport ordered an AW169 VIP in Brazil. The type has already proven highly successful in this key market for Leonardo, where seven units have already been delivered to various operators out of a total of 190 aircraft of various types serving different markets in the South American country. Turkish official distributor Kaan Air placed an order for one AW139. The contract expands the success of the AW139 in Turkey and adds to more than 30 commercial helicopters of various models sold in the country, particularly for VIP transport, emergency medical service and utility roles. Three different undisclosed users have also placed orders for a total of four AW139s VIP in the United States. The AW139 has also an established track record of shuttle and schedule services with operators across Asia, Europe and North America and is now adding Japan to the served geographies. Toho Air Service, in the framework of its heli-commuter service linking together the six major Izu islands in the Tokyo area, will start using an AW139 at the end of 2022 marking the entrance of the type in the Japanese shuttle service market and further growing the outstanding success of the AW139 in the country where nearly 70 units are in service for the widest range of roles today. Furthermore, 2021 also marks the sale of the first AW189 in VIP configuration for the European market to an undisclosed user.
With a 45% share over the last ten years, Leonardo is the world leader in the twin-engine VIP/corporate helicopter market including private, charter and VVIP/Government transport services, thanks to the most modern and largest product range featuring state-of-art avionic and navigation systems along with class leading performance, safety and comfort standards. Based on the company’s long-established and distinctive design, technology and service philosophy and values in the executive transport sphere, Leonardo recently launched the Agusta brand to embody its unique experience and excellence for future VIP market initiatives.
Energy and rescue markets
The success of the AW169 light intermediate twin engine helicopter in the wind farm sector supporting offshore operations for the sustainable energy industry, particularly in the North Sea with various operators, grows stronger with an order for two additional aircraft by HeliService international GmbH of Germany. These helicopters will be used to support Vestas turbine manufacturer in its offshore wind farm program in Taiwan starting in summer 2023. The contract brings the total number of AW169s ordered by HeliService to five since its first purchase in late 2015 and marks the entrance of the AW169 into the Asian wind farm market. Henk Schaeken, Managing Director, HeliServices, said: “HeliService is the largest operator in the offshore wind market. We thank a lot of our success in this market to the versatility and capability of the AW169. The AW169 is not only an extremely capable hoist platform but also allows us to perform crew change missions without having to reconfigure the aircraft. The increased performance introduced by the Enhanced Performance Package made the AW169 the aircraft of choice for the project in Taiwan.”
In Mexico, passenger transport operator Pegaso, an existing AW139 operator, signed for an additional aircraft to carry out both offshore transport and search and rescue operations. In Italy, Elilombarda has already accepted two AW109 Trekker helicopters, now ready to start operations in the Italian offshore energy industry sector, becoming the first offshore-configured aircraft of this type. Moreover, two AW109 Trekkers have also recently entered service also in Greece for emergency medical service tasks strengthening the National Centre for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) air ambulance operations and overall critical care capabilities across the country.
These several latest updates add to the important announcements made by Leonardo at the helicopter exhibition in USA including an Agreement for four VIP/corporate – utility AW609 tiltrotors with a European operator, the forthcoming introduction of 16 VIP/corporate – EMS AW139s by THC in Saudi Arabia and the plan for the renewal of the distributor agreement for the pre-owned civil helicopter market with Rotortrade.