AgustaWestland Mulls Going Solo on Brazil Helo Assembly
AgustaWestland is preparing the way to possible final assembly of its helicopters in Brazil with plans to expand the São Paulo facilities of its local subsidiary, the Italian company said yesterday at LABACE. Construction is due to be completed by the end of next year and the enlarged facility will also be used to accommodate a training center, bonded warehouse, workshop space and a heliport.
This move comes just four months after AgustaWestland and Embraer terminated joint-venture discussions for helicopter production in Brazil. The companies have declined to provide reasons why talks collapsed.
AgustaWestland apparently was hoping to use the joint venture with Embraer as entry into Brazil’s lucrative and state-controlled oil and gas market for its AW139 and AW189 medium twins and to challenge the historic market dominance of Eurocopter’s Brazilian subsidiary, Helibras, which has delivered more than 500 helicopters in Brazil since 1978.
Meanwhile, AgustaWestland also announced several enhancements yesterday at LABACE that will reduce maintenance and operating costs for its AW139. The company said the improvements covered by the new progressive maintenance program will give operators greater aircraft availability and utilization. It also includes an extension in the time between overhaul for the AW139’s main gearbox to 6,000 flight hours from 5,000 and for the tail and intermediate gearboxes to 7,500 hours from 5,000.