Russia’s helicopter business received a boost with an announcement by the country’s vice premier, Sergey Ivanov, that production rates for both civil and military models should be increased. Next January, the government is due to issue draft plans that will call for almost $6.4 billion of fresh investment in the industry through 2015, with half of the sum to come from the private sector.
With its acquisition of Italian counterpart Elilario, Spanish operator Grupo Inaer has become one of Europe’s largest helicopter operators, with a fleet of nearly 220 rotorcraft. The deal is valued at ?60.8 million ($91 million). Whether the new entity will be called Elilario or Inaer Italy has yet to be decided.
AgustaWestland scored a big win last month with the sale of 12 new search-and-rescue (SAR)-configured EH 101 helicopters to the Portuguese government. In a deal valued at $313 million, Portugal voted to buy a fleet of the Anglo-Italian helicopters to replace its SAR fleet of Eurocopter Pumas. In winning the deal, AgustaWestland beat out an offer from Sikorsky for an equal number of its developing S-92 rotorcraft.
Helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland is here showing a mockup of an AW101 cabin in a luxury layout, probably the ultimate for a VVIP helicopter, as it is the heaviest civil helicopter available in the Western world. “This is just one of the possible layouts in such a roomy cabin,” an AgustaWestland spokesman told EBACE Convention News.
Russian aerospace conglomerate Oboronprom has begun cooperating with European rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta- Westland (Booth No. 7550) in helicopter maintenance, production and distribution–with a 10-aircraft order as a starter.
AgustaWestland and Italian-based helicopter operator Alitalica have signed an agreement to establish “the first helicopter hub in Italy” at Rome Urbe downtown airport. AgustaWestland will be in charge of the maintenance center and will therefore build new hangars. Meanwhile, Alitalica will set up a FBO, offer passenger transport and market corporate helicopter management services.
The first AW119Ke single-turbine helicopter with a Versace interior has been ordered by a private customer in Russia, AgustaWestland (Booth No. 7550) announced here at EBACE. It has a six-seat cabin and will be flown in VIP/corporate operations. The manufacturer claims to have sold 14 commercial helicopters of various types in Russia.
The second of three AgustaWestland AW139s that CHC Helicopter will use for search-and-rescue operations off the south coast of England on behalf of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was delivered to the agency’s Lee-on-
Solent base last month.
AgustaWestland has delivered the first two of its helicopters fitted with interiors styled by Italian fashion design house Versace. One aircraft, ordered by Romania-based loan company Tiriac Air, is a Grand light twin featuring a black-and-white interior and paint scheme. The second one, an AW109 Power, has a gray interior and was ordered by Italy’s Elimarca. AgustaWestland and Versace are working on an interior for the AW139.
Aero Toy Store of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is making helicopter cabin finish work a growing part of its completion and refurbishment business. At Heli-Expo 2008 in Houston, the company displayed a new Agusta-Westland AW139 equipped with Aerospace Concepts International’s Cocoon noise-reduction package.