The rarefied offshore energy market continues to be the prime driver for development of new civil helicopters, but the training and entry-level market is also heating up, with Bell and others announcing or hinting at new models. Various studies predict that worldwide civil helicopter production will double between now and 2020 in terms of overall sales value as OEMs focus on delivering larger and more expensive helicopters.
AgustaWestland received an order for 15 AW189s from Qatar-based Gulf Helicopters at the Dubai Airshow yesterday. The first two aircraft are slated for delivery next year and all aircraft should achieve operational readiness in 2017. Gulf Helicopters already operates AW139s. Mohamed Al Mohannadi, CEO of Gulf Helicopters, identified the longer range and “perfect size” of the AW189 as factors in the company’s choice.
AgustaWestland (Chalet P22) received an order for 15 of its new AW189 helicopters from Gulf Helicopters of Qatar here at the Dubai Airshow yesterday. The first two aircraft are due to be delivered in 2014 and all aircraft should achieve operational readiness in 2017.
“The Middle East remains a very important market for AgustaWestland,” said CEO Daniele Romiti on the eve of this year’s Dubai Airshow. “It is a challenging market, where personal relationships have a great importance,” he added.
Eurocopter used the Helitech show to highlight some recent contracts. First, the UK-based Avincis group announced a firm order for three EC225s. The first two aircraft will be delivered next month, with the third slated to arrive in next year’s second half.
Deliveries of civil turbine helicopters will recover slowly until they exceed their 2008 peak in 2018 and then reach a demand plateau, according to the Teal Group’s rotorcraft market forecast covering 2013 through 2022. The study predicts that 10,300 civil turbine helicopters worth $60.3 billion will enter service during that period.
The FAA has issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring the 73 U.S.-based AgustaWestland AW139s to refrain from flying into known icing and to leave the helicopter’s electrothermal rotorcraft icing protection system (Rips) switched off. The limitation stems from a fire on one AW139 believed to have started with a malfunction caused by improper insulation on a rotor electrical cable. The system was certified by Goodrich (now United Technologies Aerospace Services) in 2010. The AD became effective on October 16.
AgustaWestland expects its AW189 and AW169 medium twins to achieve certification by the end of next year.
AgustaWestland’s family of new-generation, twin-engine, intermediate-to-medium size helicopters–the AW139, AW169 and AW189–garnered the major share of the news from Italy’s Finmeccanica here at NBAA 2013.
The Avincis Group recently signed an order for one AW139, two AW169s and two AW189s. The AW139 and two AW169s will be used for emergency medical operations in Sicily. Meanwhile, Bond Aviation plans to operate the other two AW189s for offshore work in the North Sea, flying out of the UK.
An order for as many as 35 AgustaWestland AW139 medium helicopters, which might be produced by the Helivert joint factory with Russian Helicopters, hit a snag in late August. Negotiations between the Russian Defense Ministry and AgustaWestland spilled into the press, with deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov telling the country’s news agency Itar-Tass, “It’s a very expensive machine. If they cut the price, then we can return to the issue,” giving the distinct impression that a decision had already been made to pass on the $671 million order.