Leonardo notches up sales in Australia, Japan and the United States

LEONARDO ANNOUNCED a number of helicopter sales to the emergency services sector on October, including the first AW189 for Japan and the first emergency medical servicesequipped (EMS) AW169 in the United States.

On October 16, Leonardo announced it had sold three EMS-configured AW169s to Travis County, Texas, for its STAR Flight programme, with deliveries to begin in October 2018. With the sale, Travis County becomes the launch customer for the EMS AW169 in the United States.

The helicopters will have a multipurpose cabin with specialist EMS equipment and stretchers. The three helicopters will also be able to be reconfigured with search and rescue and fire-fighting kits. Other equipment will include a rescue hoist and a 300-gallon (1,135-litre) Simplex belly tank.

Also on October 16, Leonardo announced that it has sold four more helicopters to local governments in Japan for firefighting duties. The orders include examples of the company’s AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters.

Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the local distributor for the AW139 and AW169, signed a contract with the Yamaguchi Prefecture Fire Fighting and Disaster Relief Agency for one AW169. The helicopter is the third AW169 to be sold in Japan and the first in the fire-fighting configuration.

A further contract has been signed between the two organisations and the Shizuoka and Fukushima Prefectures for one AW139 each and with the Tokyo Fire Department for one AW189. The AW189 sale is the first in Japan and the helicopter will be equipped with 19 seats, dual rescue hoist and an auxiliary fuel tank to allow missions to remote islands.

The AW139 for the Shizuoka Prefecture is intended to perform rescue operations around Mount Fuji and will be fitted with a gyrostabilised camera and microwave downlink (Heli-TV). It will also be fitted with a long-range fuel tank.

Fukushima Prefecture’s AW139 will be fitted with skis and the Yamaguchi AW169 will also have the Heli-TV system. All helicopters are expected to enter service between the early 2019 and 2020.

In October, Leonardo also announced the sale of two AW139 helicopters to the Queensland Government in Australia for EMS duties. The helicopters are due to enter service in December 2018, replacing two older Bell 412 helicopters as part of a fleet modernisation plan, and will join three AW139s delivered earlier.

The two AW139s will be operated by Queensland Government Air (QGAir), a division of the Public Safety Business Agency and will be based in Townsville, north Queensland. They will be responsible for EMS coverage of northern Queensland, but will also rotate through southern Queensland when required.

QGAir’s mission is to deliver life-saving, community safety and state support aviation services to the people and government of Queensland and it has bases at Brisbane Airport, Archerfield, Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa and Horn Island.

The State’s Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister, Mark Ryan, also said that QGAir would acquire one Cessna 208B Caravan along with the two AW139s. The Queensland Government has committed approximately AUD 47 million to the purchase of the three aircraft.

On November 5, CHC Helicopter announced that it will base three AW189s in Karratha, Western Australia, to support off shore operations on the North West Shelf. The helicopters will be the first of their type to operate in Australia and operations were due to begin by the end of November.

The AW189s will be configured to carry up to 19 passengers and will provide passenger transfer flights to Woodside Energy’s off shore installations from the CHC base at Karratha.

Vince D’Rozario, CHC Regional Director, Asia Pacific, said: “We are delighted to be the first to fly the AW189s in Australia and to off er this new-generation aircraft to Woodside. The arrival of the AW189s marks a new chapter in our long and established relationship with the aircraft manufacturer Leonardo.”

The AW189s will operate alongside CHC’s fleet of Leonardo AW139s, which the company introduced to service in Australia in 2008.

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The Queensland Government has ordered two more AW139s for EMS duties which are set to enter service in December 2018 joining three AW139s already in operation with QGAir, a division of the Public Safety Business Agency.
Nigel Pittaway