Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
A manufacturer of small UAVs said it was awarded the first permit from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (Enac) to operate a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in non-segregated airspace. Aermatica, of Venegono Superiore, Italy, said it obtained the permit for its Anteos RPA, a battery-powered quadcopter.
AgustaWestland delivered its 500th AW139 this summer to Weststar Aviation Services of Malaysia, a year after delivering its 400th AW139. Weststar is the largest operator of AW139s in Asia, with 13 already in service and three more on order. The company serves the offshore oil and gas industry.
The only way is up for Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica after it announced record losses of €2.3 billion ($3 billion) on March 27. Massive “exceptional events” and “non-recurring” charges totaling almost €3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) accounted for most of the financial hit.
The tumultuous reign of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be over, but the damage it has inflicted on Italy’s economy and the ongoing euro crisis will likely linger well past his latest criminal trial.
A cooperation between General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Selex Galileo will enable the integration and control of non-U.S. sensors on the Predator and Reaper UAV series. Selex Galileo has developed a “platform agnostic” open architecture named SkyIstar for unmanned aerial systems. The Anglo-Italian company will now integrate the SeaSpray 7500E radar on a Predator-B.
Piaggio Aero broke ground on June 15 for its new production plant in Villanova D’Albenga, Italy. Piaggio plans to move Avanti II parts and subassembly manufacture and engine manufacturing and MRO operations from its current plant in Finale Ligure to the new facility, with operations scheduled to begin in 2013. Avanti II final assembly will remain at the factory in Genova Sestri Ponente.
ATR has chosen former company chief executive Filippo Bagnato to replace outgoing CEO Stephane Mayer, whose three-year mandate has expired in accordance with the Franco-Italian company’s statutes. Bagnato served as ATR’s CEO between 2004 and 2007. For the past three years he held the position of Finmeccanica’s executive vice president of technical, industrial and commercial development.