Alenia Aermacchi said operational M-346 advanced jet trainers were grounded as a precaution following the May 11 crash of a company-owned prototype in northern Italy. It was the second crash of an M-346 pre-production aircraft; the first jet crashed off the coast of Dubai in November 2011 after appearing at the Dubai Air Show.
Though its parent company Finmeccanica yesterday reported €786 million in losses last year, subsidiary AgustaWestland posted strong 2012 results that included revenues of €4.2 billion, new orders of €4 billion and an accumulated backlog of €11.87 billion, as well as earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation of €473 million. The helicopter manufacturer’s results reflected marginally improved results over its 2011 performance and also reflected a slight increase in research and development spending, to €506 million.
AgustaWestland and Embraer have terminated joint-venture discussions for helicopter production in Brazil. The companies issued a joint statement yesterday announcing the decision, but declined to provide reasons why talks collapsed.
Mecaer Aviation Group is known industry wide for supplying landing gear and flight control systems to several different OEMs, but here at Heli-Expo ’13 the company has put its interior design and cabin comfort division on display. Front and center in the booth (No. N2107) is an elegant mockup of a corporate-outfitted AW169 passenger cabin, showcasing both the all-leather seating, LED lighting, wood veneers and a state-of-the-art communications and entertainment system.
Aircraft painting company Straube’s Aircraft Service (Booth No. N3317) recently announced it expects to receive Part 145 repair station certification for its paint shop at the AgustaWestland parts and repair facility in Philadelphia shortly.
“The 145 repair certification encompasses a five-part process, [and] we are currently finishing up phase three,” explained Straube’s chief inspector Kevin Darabant. The company expects to receive certification by this summer, he added.
A fourth AW169 intermediate twin joined the test program last month. The first AW169 flew last year and the PW210A-powered helicopter is expected to be certified next year. The test fleet has accumulated more than 150 flight hours. AgustaWestland also announced the appointment of William Hunt as the new CEO of AgustaWestland Philadelphia. The company’s plant there manufactured 54 AW139s and AW119Kxs in 2012 and employs 500 people.
AgustaWestland’s new CEO, Daniele Romiti, met the press here at Heli-Expo Monday night just days after his appointment by parent company Finmeccanica.
AgustaWestland has said it expects to be cleared of bribery allegations relating to an Indian government order for 12 AW101 VIP helicopters. At press time, the Italian-UK joint venture was responding to questions from the Indian defense ministry in relation to a “show cause notice” that could result in the cancellation of the $750 million contract. It had until February 22 to answer these questions.
On Thursday, Finmeccanica’s board nominated Daniele Romiti as the new CEO of subsidiary AgustaWestland, replacing Bruno Spagnolini. Romiti, who was promoted from COO, has since been endorsed for the position by AgustaWestland’s own board. Spagnolini and Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AW parent Finmeccanica, were arrested February 12 as part of an ongoing bribery investigation involving the sale of 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the government of India.
The Indian government has begun the process to cancel its contract with AgustaWestland (AW) for 12 AW101 VIP transport helicopters.