A NEW Photo Report Page is now online … including 95 new images from a great Heli Spotting Tour in Japan © by Oscar BERNARDI.
PRESS RELEASE – 6 February 2018.
ABC chooses AW169 for electronic newsgathering in Japan.
Leonardo and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace, the official distributor in Japan for the AW169 and AW139 helicopter models, announced on Feb. 6 the signing of a contract with Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for one AW169 light intermediate helicopter. The helicopter with special configuration will enter service in 2021 adding to one AW169 sold to Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
The aircraft, replacing an older model, will be used to perform electronic newsgathering (ENG) operations, with entry into service expected in 2021 following local mission equipment installation and customization. The aircraft will feature an ultra-HD gyrostabilized camera, microwave downlink for live broadcasting and a comprehensive TV mission console. The order marks the fourth AW169 sale in Japan, the second for ENG tasks following contract from Asahi Shimbun newspaper testifying customer’s satisfaction with the type. The AW169 is perfectly suited to perform electronic newsgathering operations thanks to high performance, cabin space, latest safety standards and versatility. Leonardo has experienced a growing presence in the Japanese ENG market in recent years with the contracts for 10 aircraft including seven AW139s (NHK, Kansai TV, Nippon TV, Chukyo TV), two AW169s and one GrandNew (Asahi Shimbun and ABC).
Nearly 120 Leonardo helicopters of various models are in service in Japan today, performing a range of missions including EMS, SAR, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic newsgathering and naval operations. A versatile, new-generation, twin-engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 4.6/4.8 tonne AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities. Orders for more than 170 AW169 helicopters have been signed by over 70 customers in nearly 30 countries around the world to date for a wide range of applications including air ambulance, law enforcement, executive/corporate transport and electronic newsgathering. Almost 50 units have already been delivered globally.
PRESS RELEASE – 06 February 2018.
Leonardo signs for first ‘excellent’ service center in Japan.
Leonardo and Shizuoka Air Commuter Corporation (SACC) of Japan announced the signing of a Service Center Agreement to set up helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities in Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport. The agreement foresees the construction and completion of a new dedicated hangar in 2018, with operational readiness by spring 2019. The MRO center will support the successful AW109 series and AW139 aircraft models with an annual capacity of up to 24 units and potential to grow its capacity based on market demand.
SACC’s MRO center will be the first service center in Japan ranked ‘excellent’ under Leonardo’s guidelines, expanding a local support network that already accounts for four service centers. ‘Excellent’ ranking is assigned to selected service centers focused on maintaining third party fleets and having the largest scope of service capabilities, all while guaranteeing the continued achievement of Leonardo’s customers stringent expectations and considering specific market requirements. With over 100 helicopter service and maintenance centers worldwide to date, Leonardo plans to establish at least one ‘excellent’ center in all strategic markets. This step reflects a strong commitment to position the customer at the core of any activity undertaken by Leonardo, from design through to life cycle support.
Leonardo’s regional business headquarters, based in Tokyo, has been supporting the company’s growing helicopter business in Japan since 2008. Over 120 helicopters of various models are in service in the country today performing a wide range of missions including emergency medical service, law enforcement, search-and-rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering and naval utility. With nearly 25 years of maintenance services supplied through a growing support network nationwide, Leonardo is set to strengthen the level of service in the future. The Japanese turbine helicopter market shows significant potential in the next few decades to replace ageing fleets with modern technology and up to 30 new units could enter the market every year.
Established in 1991, the SACC, based in Shizuoka Prefecture where Mt. Fuji is located, has been providing operations and maintenance of helicopters and business jets for 25 years, maintaining a record of accident-free operations. SACC is also an operator of two GrandNew helicopters assembled by Leonardo and has supported the Dr. Heli national emergency medical service program since 2015.