May 24, 2023
At Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition - LIMA, Leonardo and Weststar Aviation Services (Weststar) of Malaysia celebrated technological and commercial development agreements and an important sustainability milestone.
Weststar will introduce the AW609 tiltrotor in Malaysia through the operation of one aircraft under a lease contract. The aircraft will be used to carry out a range of roles and missions in the country, supporting a further development of its operational capabilities tailored for the specific regional market requirements and expectations. Leonardo will supply initial training and maintenance support, with demonstration activities planned by the partners during the capability development phase. This latest achievement for the AW609 programme, the world’s first multirole tiltrotor designed to obtain civil certification, marks the entry of the all-new type in South-East Asia.
“As Weststar continues to push the boundaries of innovation and operational excellence, we are excited to partner with Leonardo to introduce the AW609 tiltrotor in Malaysia. This groundbreaking aircraft will revolutionise our operational capabilities, providing us with a versatile platform to fulfil our various missions. We are proud to be the pioneer in bringing the world's first multirole tiltrotor to South-East Asia, and we look forward to demonstrating its exceptional capabilities to our present and potential clients." said Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, the Group Managing Director of The Weststar Group.
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In addition to this important collaboration announcement on revolutionary rotorcraft capability development, Weststar signed a contract for five more AW139 intermediate twin helicopters in an offshore configuration. This move will strengthen the level of support provided by Weststar to the regional energy industry with the best-seller in the world’s market in its class.
A significant sustainability milestone was also achieved by a Weststar AW139 in VIP configuration on 22nd May, with the aircraft performing a first demonstration flight with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Malaysia, taking off from Subang Airport (home to Leonardo in Malaysia) bound for LIMA. The SAF fuel was supplied by PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) in collaboration with Neste, the world’s leading SAF producer.. The flight using SAF in real operations marked a first in Malaysia for helicopters, further demonstrating Leonardo’s capability to reduce the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions across geographies.
“At Weststar, we are committed to driving sustainable aviation practices and reducing our carbon footprint. We are a step closer toward reducing the environmental impact of Malaysia’s rotor wing sector with the successful demonstration flight of our AW139 fuelled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This achievement exemplifies our commitment to harnessing innovative solutions driving positive change in the industry. We remain dedicated to shaping a greener future for the aviation industry and reducing carbon emissions across borders," added Tan Sri Syed Azman.
“At PDB, we are committed to supporting the aviation industry’s decarbonisation efforts. This collaboration is a positive step in the right direction in promoting sustainable aviation future”, said PDB Chief Operating Officer (COO) Khalil Jaffri Muhammad Muri.
Since its establishment in 2003, Weststar, a leading regional offshore helicopter transportation services provider, has grown to become one of the global key players in the offshore helicopter industry. To date, Weststar operates over 35 AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters out of its bases in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Mauritania, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo, becoming one of the largest commercial operators of Leonardo helicopters.
Leonardo continues to play a major role in the Malaysian helicopter market, expanding its presence and increasing its capabilities through a continued plan of investment. With a regional hub for customer support and training near Kuala Lumpur, Leonardo has been present in the region for many years, with hundreds of helicopters performing missions such as offshore and passenger transport, utility, homeland security, law enforcement, SAR, emergency medical services, maritime patrol, military naval roles and armed reconnaissance.