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Leonardo: Heli-Expo orders confirm strong commercial market position

Leonardo Press Release | March 21, 2023

Estimated reading time 16 minutes, 12 seconds.

Following the company’s successful attendance at Heli-Expo 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia (March 7 to 9), Leonardo is announcing further growth within the commercial helicopter market, with new orders for nearly 40 aircraft of various models to several operators across Middle East, Asia, Americas and Europe primarily for energy support, rescue and public service duties, and VIP transport operations. Combined orders for the AW139, AW169, AW109 GrandNew and AW109 Trekker types have a total value of approximately €470 million, with deliveries between 2023 and 2026.

All of these orders add to preliminary sales contracts, already announced at Heli-Expo, for more than 50 AW09 next generation single engine helicopters for customers worldwide. In addition to THC’s decision to confirm intent to further expand the presence of their AW139 fleet in Saudi Arabia for SAR, EMS and corporate transport adding six helicopters plus 20 options within the next 18 months.

Nearly 25 aircraft will carry out offshore transport missions with various operators supporting the energy industry across geographies. The AW139 global fleet grew with new orders across the Middle East, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and Germany, confirming worldwide appreciation of the platform and unmatched competitiveness for oil & gas operations. Also, the AW169 continues to prove the aircraft of choice in its class for offshore transport and wind farm support, both in Europe and Asia.

Nearly 40 helicopters of various types were sold to several operators with a total value of approximately 470 million EUR, deliveries expected between 2023 and 2026. Leonardo Photo

Among operators placing orders for Leonardo offshore-configured helicopters, Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) expanded its AW139 offshore fleet with an order for six more helicopters with deliveries expected in the 2024-2026 timeframe. OMNI Helicopters International (OHI) has signed a contract for two AW139s to carry out offshore transport missions in Brazil with deliveries expected in 2024. This latest order follows a significant Leonardo fleet expansion at OHI adding to a total of six AW139s and two AW189 super medium helicopters, which were procured between 2021 and 2022. Two more AW139s were ordered by SFS Aviation, a leading provider of offshore helicopter services for Oil and Gas companies in Thailand. These aircraft, expected to be handed over this year, will increase the user’s fleet to a total of seven AW139s. In Indonesia, Travira Air signed a contract for an additional AW139 offshore, which is expected to be delivered in 2024. HeliService international GmbH (HeliService) in Germany is further strengthening its range of offshore transport services, with an order for two more Leonardo helicopters including an AW139 and an AW169. The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2024. HeliService has been operating AW139s and AW169s for offshore wind farm support missions in the North Sea over the last few years delivering outstanding operational capability and safety standards with ongoing successful expansion in Asia and USA, where three new AW169s are already expected to be in service starting from summer 2023. The success of the AW169 supporting offshore operations has been confirmed also in India. Global Vectra Helicorp Limited (GVHL) has placed an order for two AW169s to support transport operations in the energy industry sector. The delivery of the aircraft is expected to be completed this year, joining a fleet of AW139s.

The AW169 and AW139 also strengthen their presence in the rescue and public service markets with new orders across Asia, Middle East and in USA for a total of ten units.

In South Korea, the EMS (emergency medical service) operator UI Helijet has signed a contract for two AW169s. The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2025 and will enter into service starting 2026. UI Helijet, an EMS contractor for the National Medical Center, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, was the first EMS operator using Leonardo’s helicopters in the country. The Phoenix Police Department has signed a contract for one AW169 and an option for a second. The aircraft will be operated by the Phoenix Police Air Tactical Support Bureau as the larger and most modern aircraft in the operator’s helicopter fleet, complementing the Leonardo AW109 Power originally acquired in 2005. The outstanding capabilities of the best-selling AW139 helicopter have been reconfirmed with a new order for one AW139 by Abu Dhabi Police in UAE. The type is highly successful in the country for a range of roles, including law enforcement and rescue services among others. Mitsui Bussan Aerospace (MBA), the authorized distributor for the AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopter models in Japan, announced with Leonardo orders recently signed for a total of six AW139s, to meet the requirements of various upcoming opportunities in the country.

In Latin America the success of Leonardo’s offer – particularly for the VIP/corporate transport market and leveraging the exclusive Agusta brand value proposition – grows further with sales of three helicopters to SynerJet Latina SA, a new distributor responsible for Colombia, Peru, Chile and Paraguay. In particular, these include two AW109 GrandNew and one AW109 Trekker light twin engine aircraft, with deliveries expected between the end of 2024 and the 2Q of 2025.

Energy support market 

OMNI Helicopters International (OHI) has signed a contract for two AW139 intermediate twin helicopters to carry out offshore transport supporting the energy industry in Brazil with deliveries expected in 2024. This latest order follows a significant Leonardo fleet expansion at OHI over the previous two years with a total of six AW139s and two AW189 super medium helicopters procured between 2021 and 2022. OHI is focused on providing air mobility solutions to the Oil and Gas and other sectors. Its customer first culture has allowed it to grow rapidly alongside the discovery of new oil reserves in South America that are increasingly distant from the coast. OHI continues to serve its clients by adapting their fleet to the new context of the market. They were the first operator to introduce the AW189 in the Latin American market. The contract announced at Heli-Expo therefore confirms the strong collaboration between OHI and Leonardo to meet its evolving medium to long range offshore transport mission requirements in South America where the AW139 is the market leader in its segment. “We greatly value our relationship with Leonardo”, said Jeremy Akel, OHI Group CEO. “We are strongly aligned and continue to offer products, innovation, and ideas that translate into safe, reliable, and comfortable services to our top Oil and Gas clients. We look forward to building on this relationship in the years to come to offer more value.” 

HeliService international GmbH (HeliService) in Germany is further strengthening its range of offshore transport services supporting the Energy Industry with an order for two more Leonardo helicopters including an AW139 and an AW169. The aircraft are expected to be delivered from Vergiate (Italy) in 2024. The contract follows the appointment of HeliService as a Leonardo Excellent Service Centre in Germany and Europe in November 2022 allowing the operator to deliver the highest level of service for the AW109, AW169 light and AW139 types.

These aircraft’s importance and presence in Europe have constantly increased over recent years, with further potential in Germany into the future. HeliService has been operating AW139s and AW169s for offshore wind farm support missions in the North Sea over the last few years delivering outstanding operational capability and safety standards with ongoing successful expansion in Asia and USA, where three new AW169s will be operated starting from summer 2023.

Established in 1987, HeliService delivers rescue service, passenger and cargo transports, training for offshore service-personnel, and acts as a maintenance organisation. HeliService has established a core competence in offshore aviation by transporting personnel and cargo to and from wind farms, research and construction vessels as well as transporting injured personnel. Unique specialties include helicopter hoist operations (HHO) directly onto offshore wind turbines 

Global Vectra Helicorp Limited (GVHL) has placed an order for two AW169 light intermediate helicopters to support transport operations in the energy industry sector. The delivery of the aircraft is expected to be completed this year, joining also a fleet of Leonardo AW139 intermediate twins.

GVHL have been an integral player in the provision of aviation services to the Oil and Gas sector since 1998. They were the first operator in India to introduce the AW139 helicopter into service for the local Oil and Gas industry and remain the largest operator of this type in the country.

GVHL has over 24 years of experience in helicopter services, it has logged in excess of 260,000 flight hours transporting more than 4.6 million passengers from more than ten bases. The combination of AW169s and AW139s delivers outstanding fleet management efficiency and versatility. 

Rescue and Public Service markets 

In South Korea, the EMS (emergency medical service) operator UI Helijet signed a contract with Leonardo for two AW169s. The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2025 and will enter into service starting 2026.

UI Helijet, an EMS contractor for the National Medical Center, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, was the first EMS operator using Leonardo’s helicopters in South Korea. UI Helijet currently serves three EMS bases with two AW109 GrandNew aircraft (plus one backup of the same model) and an additional AW169 (plus one AW169 backup), for a total of five helicopters.

Since the beginning of its EMS services in 2016 and up to mid-February 2023, UI Helijet has conveyed in excess of 3,200 patients. Today, seven out of a total of eight EMS bases in South Korea are supported by Leonardo helicopters, confirming a strong leadership in this important market. In the meanwhile, UI Helicopter Co., Ltd., a sister company of UI Helijet and Authorized Service Center, is the helicopter MRO provider for Leonardo helicopters in the country, while UI International, also sister company of UI Helijet, is Leonardo sales promoter & distributor in Korea. 

The Phoenix Police Department has signed a contract for one AW169 light intermediate twin engine helicopter and an option for a second. The aircraft will be operated by the Phoenix Police Air Tactical Support Bureau as the larger and most modern aircraft in the operator’s helicopter fleet, complementing the Leonardo AW109 Power originally acquired in 2005.

The mission of the Phoenix Police Air Support Unit is to provide patrol support, airborne surveillance, and search and rescue services to bureaus and precincts of the Police Department, and citizens of Phoenix. The new AW169, primarily chosen for Search and Rescue, will strengthen its rescue and emergency response capabilities featuring rescue hoist, search light, FLIR and multi-mission/SAR cabin, with increased load carrying capability and overall improved aircraft performance. 

“We are excited about adding the AW169 to our fleet to significantly enhance mission capability, safety, and performance in our hot and high density altitude environment,” said Paul Apolinar, Chief Pilot-Helicopter Operations of the Phoenix Police Department.

This order marks the entrance of the AW169 into the North American law enforcement market, adding one more leading law enforcement operator to the list of police, security agencies or firefighting departments who have selected the AW169 in nations like Italy, Norway, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovenia and Indonesia.

VIP/Corporate market 

With a 45 percent share over the last 10 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 is leveraging the Agusta brand to embody its unique experience and excellence for today’s and future VIP market initiatives.

More than 900 Leonardo VIP/corporate helicopters are flying today globally, approximately 25 percent of which are based in Latin America. In this region the success of Leonardo’s offer grows further with sales of three VIP-configured helicopters to SynerJet Latina SA, a new distributor responsible for Colombia, Peru, Chile and Paraguay. In particular, these include two AW109 GrandNew and one AW109 Trekker light twin engine aircraft, with deliveries expected between the end of 2024 and the second quarter of 2025.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Leonardo

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