Just a few short years ago, the manufacturers of small, low-cost helicopters targeted Asia as the market of the future for their brand of inexpensive vertical-lift aircraft. And few onlookers took them seriously. Today it seems that some of these small helicopter crafters are laughing all the way to the bank.
Aviation International News » September 2003
In a move sure to amaze Western rotorcraft makers, Russia’s Kamov has announced it will sell a hoped-for total of 145 of its Ka-50-2 Black Shark helicopters to the Turkish military in a six-year contract worth some $2.1 billion. The deal, should it be formally sealed by year-end, said Kamov officials, will come as something of a shock to Bell Helicopter, which has been courting the Turkish government for years.
In one of the highest death tolls from a civil helicopter crash in recent memory, 27 offshore oil workers as well as the crew of a Mil Mi-172 were killed August 11 when the rotorcraft crashed into the sea en route to an oil rig off the western Indian city of Bombay.
North Sea operations giant CHC Helicopter has won contracts worth $44 million to provide helicopter service throughout the world. In one of those deals, CHC will provide a pair of Eurocopter Super Pumas to Petrobras, the Brazilian national oil company, for use over the waters off Brazil and Taiwan. In another deal CHC will provide helicopter service to the Taiwanese Coast Guard.
The merger of Russia’s two leading helicopter makers is inevitable, according to Sergey Mikheyev, constructor general of Kamov, one of the two companies involved. “I believe that the merger of design bureaus, mass production plants and adjacent enterprises in a single helicopter-building association is inevitable and will happen sooner or later,” Mikheyev told reporters in Moscow on August 12.
The second Embraer 175 prototype flew its maiden mission on August 7, marking the resumption of a comparatively short flight-test program scheduled to last into next year’s third quarter. The airplane took off from Embraer’s São José dos Campos assembly plant at 11 a.m.
Brazil’s Embraer remains firmly on target for November certification of its much-heralded but delay-prone Embraer 170, according to company vice president of commercial programs Fred Curado.
During a quarter in which all the big publicly traded regional airlines turned a handsome profit, it came as little surprise that Atlantic Coast Airlines led the pack, as the Sterling, Va.-based carrier prepared to embark on the most ambitious, and perhaps riskiest, undertaking in its 14-year history.
The former Maersk Air, reconstituted in a management buyout in June and renamed Duo, announced last month that it has severed its relationship with British Airways, after the UK flag carrier said it would cut in half its operations from Duo’s Birmingham, UK base.
Struggling Caribbean regional airline Liat and fellow money-losing international carrier BWIA will form the basis of a new West Indian airline under a plan by four island governments to stem the tide of red ink that habitually covers their balance sheets. The plan calls for the governments of Barbados, Antigua, St.