Gulf Helicopters Signs Firm Orders for 15 AW189 Helicopters
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that Gulf Helicopters of Qatar has signed firm orders for fifteen AW189 helicopters. This signing follows the preliminary sale contract announced in early 2012, confirming customer’s commitment to this new generation model. The first two aircraft are planned to be delivered to the customer in 2014 and all helicopters will achieve operational readiness by 2017.
Daniele Romiti, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland said “We are delighted to see how increasingly strong is our partnership with Gulf Helicopter with the signing of a significant number of firm orders for the all new AW189 helicopter. Gulf Helicopter, an already prime operator to the AW139 in the region, will also become the first customer introducing the Family concept into operational service in the whole area. We are confident they will perform a quantum leap forward in operational effectiveness, versatility and fleet management. We welcome them to the Family advantage.”
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Mr. Mohamed Al Mohannadi, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Helicopters stated “The experience of operating, maintaining and managing the AW139 in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Europe over 6 years with 15 units in our Fleet and with over 45,000 hours of flying has helped Gulf Helicopters in taking the decision to purchase the AW189 8-tonne class twin engine helicopter.” Mr. Mohannadi then added “The AW189, which hails from the same family of new generation helicopters such as the AW139, can add an advantage to the Company’s outstanding operations where longer range capabilities are required.” He further added “We are confident that with the support of AgustaWestland, our fleet of AW189s will find home quickly, as we believe that the AW189 is the perfect size to fit into a very niche market that is not really being serviced by other types of helicopter.”
Assembly and flight testing of the first batch of offshore-configured AW189 production aircraft is on-going at Vergiate plant (Italy) with the start of delivery planned by year end. Meanwhile a range maintenance and flight training devices is already being made available to customers to rapidly start familiarization with the type and speed up operational readiness once the aircraft are delivered to service, offering unprecedented advantages to the AW189 operators.
The AW189 is designed in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole medium helicopter. The new 8-tonne class twin engine helicopter is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions and has already received orders for more than 80 units making it the market leader in its class since its launch at Paris Air Show in June 2011. The spacious cabin is configured with 16 seats as standard. Seating options include a high density 18/19 seat or a long range 12 seat layout. The AW189 is unique in having a 50 minute ‘run-dry’ capable main gear box, exceeding current certification standards and offering unmatched safety and reliability for long range offshore operations.
The AW189 is part of the AgustaWestland Family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW169 models. These all possess the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as share a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 8.5 tonne categories.
A major AW139 operator with three units on order and fifteen already in operation, Gulf Helicopters is owned by Qatar Petroleum, through the holding company, Gulf International Services and General Public of State of Qatar. Gulf Helicopters has been providing helicopter services since 1970 working with companies throughout the Middle East, India, Far East and North Africa. Gulf Helicopters has its own in-house maintenance facility with a team of highly qualified and experienced engineers undertaking fleet maintenance and modification work. Gulf Helicopters is also an authorized service centre for AgustaWestland for their AW139s and also one of the first companies to have its own full flight simulator for the AW139 for its own and third party use. Gulf Helicopters is also a FAA approved Repair Station and EASA approved Part 145 Maintenance Organization. The Company is also EASA approved Part 147 Training Organization for the AW139.
Recently, Gulf Helicopters has been established as an AgustaWestland Authorised Training Centre, an agreement that further cements the strong relationship between the two companies who will now jointly offer AW139 pilot training services to the market, whilst strengthening the growing global support and training footprint for AgustaWestland aircraft. Gulf Helicopters is also planned to become an Authorized Service as well as Training Centre for the AW189 in the future.
Source : AgustaWestland, A Finmeccanica Company (Milan: FNC.MI)