European manufacturer AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, is exhibiting four helicopters at Heli-Expo and plans to announce new orders and provide briefings on the AW109/119 and 139 models here today. On display are a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) AW139, a Grand configured for executive transport, a high-gross-weight AW119ke Koala and an AW139 equipped for offshore operations.
AgustaWestland has logged a number of sales successes for the AW139 medium twin. In addition to UTair’s recent order for as many as 35, AW landed orders from a number of other operators. In October, Chevron ordered two AW139s for offshore operations. Ontario-based charity Ornge then ordered 10 AW139s for emergency medical services, also booking two options. The contract was valued at $120 million.
Piestany, Slovakia-based UTair Europe has announced “an expansion of its flight destinations and an increase in helicopter services” throughout Europe. It will thus build on momentum started by its two Mi-8Ts and two Mi-171s, which have been involved in a number of aerial work operations.
European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and Russian conglomerate Oboronprom last month signed an agreement for a civil AW139 final assembly line near Moscow, less than six months after announcing the project’s outlines.
Russian simulator and avionics specialist Transas is expanding its flight-training portfolio for both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The company is also engaged in an ongoing program to equip Russian aircraft with the terrain avoidance and warning systems (TAWS) that they need to fly on international routes.
Surgut, Siberia-based TyumenAviaTrans (TAT) is scheduled to take delivery of a Gulfstream IV-SP in August and operate it on behalf of the owner, “one of the oil companies based in Tyumen,” according to the airline. The airline said it will become the first of its type to operate in Russia.
Russian aviation firm UTair signed a firm order yesterday for 15 Eurocopter EC 175s, with options for another 15. Participating in ceremonies at the Eurocopter booth (No. 631), were Eurocopter president/CEO Lutz Bertling (left) and senior executive v-p Philippe Harache (right) with UTair Aviation CEO Andrey Martirosov. Eurocopter’s heavy twin rotorcraft program was launched two years ago and EASA certification is anticipated in 2011.
The governments of Russia and Ukraine have so far managed to prevent Western manufacturers from penetrating their countries’ markets for regional aircraft in the hope that local producers could develop competitive products. But officials have warned that prohibitive import taxes will not hold forever, particularly as Russia pushes ever harder for accession into the World Trade Organization.
A mystery buyer has bought nearly half the shares in one of the world’s biggest helicopter operators, Russia’s UTair Aviation. UTair, heavily involved in United Nations peacekeeping operations from East Timor to Iraq, has worked with the UN since the collapse of the Soviet Union and, with a fleet of nearly 200 rotorcraft, is one of its biggest helicopter service providers.
Siberian regional airline UTair has selected the Franco-Italian ATR 42 as its primary growth platform in the first-ever open tender for regional turboprops held by a Russian airline. UTair, ATR and Irish leasing company Magellan Air signed the respective letters of intent for five used ATR 42-300s on August 5, some three weeks before the parties expected to sign a firm contract.