Leonardo Helicopters NEWS

Leonardo Helicopters [AgustaWestland/Finmeccanica] NEWS, Press Releases, Images … and not only

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  28 February 2024 10:00

  • Metro will act as Leonardo distributor for the AW09 in the US and Canadian civil markets for all applications.

Leonardo and Metro Aviation, a prime privately-owned HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) operator and service provider in the US, have announced the signing of a Distributor Agreement for the AW09 next generation single engine helicopter. Metro will act as a Leonardo distributor for the type in the US and Canada for all civil market applications. The Distributor Agreement includes a commitment for 30 units that will translate into Preliminary Sales Contracts. 

This latest deal builds on the collaboration started at Heli-Expo 2023 aimed at supporting the introduction and positioning of the AW09 in the USA and in doing so, benefitting from Metro Aviation’s renowned experience and capabilities in the development of Aircraft Interior & STCs (supplemental type certificates), service and training. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, MD of Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re excited to perform this further step forward in our collaboration with Metro which paves the path to the introduction of our new single engine in the important North American market. Also, combining our industrial capabilities with Metro Aviation’s extensive and recognized experience in operations and support enhances the AW09 value proposition, providing superior mission capabilities to the operators of this platform.“ 

“I first saw the 09 prototype in 2017 and have been excited about bringing it to the U.S. market since then,” said Metro Aviation President and CEO Mike Stanberry.  “Metro has enjoyed a great partnership with Leonardo and designed multiple interiors for the 09.  We look forward to integrating it into our fleet and performing completions for air medical, law enforcement, tourism, and beyond.”

The AW09 continues to generate a very positive response from all geographies worldwide as the programme development progresses. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding characteristics and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single-segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. A full-scale mock-up of the cabin, together with the advanced connectivity and digital features of the type, is on display at the Leonardo booth at Heli-Expo, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community thanks to its distinguished features in cabin space and ergonomics, and external footprint. The total number of Preliminary Sales Contracts for the AW09 will soon exceed 100 units globally. 

Metro Aviation is the world’s largest air medical completion center and traditional air medical operator, with more than 170 helicopters and airplanes in 27 states and the District of Columbia.  Metro’s presence is evident for many air medical, law enforcement and other components and installations. Metro has developed and received FAA Supplemental Type Certificates (STC’s) for many air medical components and installations including fixed and rotor-wing. Quite often, Metro not only performs the installation, but purchases the aircraft and trains the ground and flight personnel. Its foundation of safety, quality and customer service has remained for 40 years and is still the cornerstone of the company.

PRESS RELEASE – ANAHEIM, CA – February 28, 2024

The Milestone Aviation Group Limited (“Milestone”), the global leader in helicopter leasing, today announced that it has signed lease agreements for two Leonardo AW139 helicopters with new customer, Lufttransport RW AS (“Lufttransport”), a Norwegian helicopter operator. The helicopters are scheduled to deliver in 2025.

Sébastien Moulin, the Head of Europe & Americas, Milestone Aviation, said, “We are very pleased
to welcome Lufttransport as a new customer and to support their growing multi-mission operations.
We thank Erlend Olsen and the Lufttransport team for the trust they have placed in Milestone, and we
look forward to working together as these aircraft deliver.”
“We are delighted to have signed these agreements with Milestone Aviation for two Leonardo AW139
helicopters. The AW139 is an extremely capable aircraft with the highest safety standards and
advanced avionics,” said Erlend Olsen, CEO of Lufttransport. “We thank the Milestone team for their
support, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with them.”

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, 27 February 2024

Leonardo has announced a further growth in presence of the AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter in Australia at Heli-Expo 2024, with orders for three more aircraft by LifeFlight Australia. These add to two additional aircraft for LifeFlight’s joint venture partner StarFlight, that had been ordered in late 2023.

The helicopters will be used to carry out emergency medical service and search and rescue response
missions in Queensland with deliveries expected in late 2024. LifeFlight and StarFlight operate one of Australia’s largest fleets with 11 AW139s performing air medical and emergency, rescue response missions, and law enforcement. The arrival of five new aircraft take the total fleet size to 16. Established in 1979, LifeFlight operates an advanced fleet of rotary and fixed-wing jet aircraft and employs highly trained medical teams and is a globally recognised training academy and Approved Maintenance Organisation. The AW139 on order will feature all the latest avionics technology, patient care and search and rescue capability. Reliability, quality and serviceability, technology, size, versatility, readiness and all-round advanced capabilities that the AW139s offer, make these aircraft ideal for EMS requirements in Australia.
This latest contract by LifeFlight announced at Heli-Expo marks a further outstanding success for the best-selling AW139 in Australia, being already the leading model for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) nationwide. More than 130 civil, public utility and military helicopters of various models have been sold by Leonardo in the country to date, supported by unique localized support and MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) services. The AW139 has been chosen by several operators in Australia for a range of roles covering HEMS/SAR, law enforcement, offshore transport and government roles with a fleet of over 60 units today in service. The AW139 has been sold by Leonardo in several State Government of the country to carry out a range of law enforcement, patrol and surveillance, maritime search and rescue missions and policing operations. This helicopters is ideal for law enforcement, EMS and parapublic missions thanks to its capability, reliability and safety. A fleet of over 60 units performs all of these missions today in Australia in addition to energy support and transport.
With more than 1200 units delivered to over 300 customers in around 90 nations, and over 4 million flight hours logged to date since its certification in 2004, the AW139 has also proven extremely successful for rescue and emergency missions. The AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology, and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximize effectiveness. This type features state-of￾the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins, and overall performance; the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration; a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety; and up to 1000 certified kits.


PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  28 February 2024 09:30

  • Contract for 20 AW139s plus multiyear Framework Agreement for over 130 helicopters of various types.  
  • THC will significantly strengthen EMS/SAR and passenger transport missions in the country.  

Leonardo and THC (The Helicopter Company), owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced yesterday a substantial growth of their collaboration with an order for 20 AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters and a multi-year Framework Agreement for over 130 aircraft. The announcement was made during an official ceremony held at Heli-Expo 2024 in Anaheim, CA. 

The contract for 20 AW139s aims at primarily strengthening the emergency medical service (EMS) and search and rescue (SAR) fleet in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with deliveries expected to be carried out in 2025 and 2026. The Framework Agreement for over 130 aircraft includes a mix of AW109s, AW169s, AW139s and AW189Ks for various applications, with a first batch of orders foreseen by the first half of this year and delivery positions to THC over five to seven years. 

The intention to procure these latest 20 AW139s was announced at Heli-Expo 2023. By the time all these latest firmly ordered AW139s are delivered, THC will have a total fleet of approximately 50 AW139s carrying out a range of missions including EMS, SAR and corporate transport in the country, making THC one of the largest AW139 operators globally.  

“We’re proud of this THC’s massive helicopter fleet expansion plan leveraging our technology,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters. “Our state-of-the-art platforms will support their service capability growth program with key life-saving and transport missions for the communities they serve.” 

The AW139, the world’s most important helicopter program since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, has logged orders for more than 1400 units from over 290 customers in over 90 countries to date. The fleet of over 1200 units in service has now exceeded 4 million flight hours. The type has proven extremely successful in the Middle East with almost 200 units sold across the region for the widest scope of missions including corporate transport, emergency medical service, search and rescue, law enforcement, offshore transport, government duties. The AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximize effectiveness. 

The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins, and overall performance. In addition, this type includes the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1000 certified kits. 

The addition of the AW169 and AW189K to the THC’s fleet in the future will allow the operator to benefit from the unique advantages of the AW Family concept based on shared design, components, support and training approach with unprecedented fleet management efficiency and versatility.  

  • The AW09 helicopter’s global market success extends to UK and Ireland with preliminary sales contracts for nine units by Sloane
  • Two AW109 GrandNew + two Trekker order confirms Leonardo’s leading position in the VIP/Corporate and light twin market segments in the region

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  28 February 2024

Leonardo and Sloane announced at Heli-Expo 2024 a major reinforcement of their collaboration in the UK and Ireland commercial helicopter market with the signing of Preliminary Sales Contracts for nine AW09 next-generation single engine aircraft, and new orders for two AW109 Grand New and two AW109 Trekker light twins. 

The Preliminary Sales Contracts for the AW09 add Sloane to the number of global partners who have chosen the all-new type. Sloane joins the consensus around the AW09 programme and market potential and, as established European distributors of Leonardo helicopters, are intending to extend their collaboration and distributorship mandates to include the AW09 in the continent. With this latest achievement, the AW09 world market success extends to UK and Ireland following announcements of partnerships and distribution agreements already made in North and Latin America, Africa and Asia in 2023, some leading to end-user orders. The total number of Preliminary Sales Contracts will soon exceed 100 units globally. 

David George, Chairman of Sloane, said “On the back of record AW109 deliveries we are excited to embark on the next step of our journey with Leonardo with the AW09, an all-new airframe which represents a technological leap forward in the single turbine market. I was present at the AW09’s initial ground runs some 10 years ago, and look forward to introducing the UK and Ireland market to its class leading characteristics. We are confident it will become the benchmark aircraft in its category, along with our current Leonardo offerings.”

The AW09 continues to generate a very positive response from all geographies worldwide as the programme development progresses. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding characteristics and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single-segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. A full-scale mock-up of the cabin, together with the advanced connectivity and digital features of the type, is on display at the Leonardo booth at Heli-Expo, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community thanks to its distinguished features in cabin space and ergonomics, and external footprint. 

The AW109 series continue to be highly popular in Sloane’s reference markets particularly for VIP/Corporate transport. As the Leonardo’s regional distributor, Sloane has taken delivery of a total 14 AW109s in the 2022-2023 period and plans to receive six more this year. Under the latest order for four new AW109s, deliveries are expected to be performed in 2025 and 2026.  

In July 2022, Sloane confirmed its Distributor Agreement for the 2022-2024 timeframe, covering both types and the AW169 light intermediate twin model. The long-term success between Sloane Helicopters and Leonardo was established in 1995, when Sloane became the sole distributor of Leonardo VIP/corporate helicopter in the UK and Ireland. Under this collaboration, over 110 Leonardo commercial helicopters have been delivered to operators and private users in the UK and Ireland. The Distributorship Agreement has provided customers with continued benefits by dramatically reducing delivery times and providing customers with product expertise and a full range of support packages, which also helps Leonardo to maintain its position as leader in the executive/private transport market in the UK and Ireland, among other applications. This has been further reinforced following the launch of the new Agusta VIP brand in late 2021 with its exclusive features and all-new service offer. Sloane Helicopters is also an Authorised Service Centre, providing maintenance and support services for the majority of GrandNew and all AW169 VIP helicopters in the region. Additionally, Sloane is a Type Rating Training centre for Leonardo helicopters in the UK. 

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  28 February 2024 09:00

  • The new Framework Agreement includes 10 firm orders plus 10 options supporting Bristow fleet expansion plans from 2025 to 2028
  • The deal underscores Bristow’s success with the AW189 over the years – the most successful super medium helicopter in the market for offshore transport and other roles 

Leonardo and Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: VTOL), the leading global provider of innovative and sustainable vertical flight solutions, announced a framework agreement including firm orders for 10 AW189 super medium helicopters plus 10 options. 

Bristow is currently operating 21 AW189 helicopters globally with another five due off the assembly line in 2024. The new framework agreement covers a fleet expansion plan for the 2025-2028 period. Bristow uses the AW189 in its Offshore Energy Services business line as well as in its Government Services business line supporting search and rescue operations in the U.K., the Netherlands, and beginning in 2025 in Ireland. The leading super medium AW189 delivers modern and safe long range, high endurance, and high capacity, similar to larger- and heavier-type helicopters, while allowing lower operating costs. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director for Leonardo Helicopters, said: “This latest step supporting our key partner Bristow is further testament to the outstanding capabilities of the AW189 as the aircraft of choice in its category for energy support missions among prime operators and countries. We’re proud to continue to provide our contribution to Bristow with this type, its technology and support solutions.” 

Leonardo and Bristow have collaborated for more than 28 years with Bristow using a range of aircraft types including the AW119 single engine, AW109 light twin, AW139 intermediate twin, and AW189 super medium. Bristow’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters will account for nearly 110 units with the arrival of these additional 10 AW189 helicopters.

In 2022, the companies signed a 10-year global service agreement for Bristow’s offshore fleet, applying to their AW139 and AW189 fleet, in operation across the globe. This unique service agreement is intended to deliver more efficient overall logistics and savings to the operator, highlighting the value of Leonardo logistic service offerings, increasing performance across geographies.

Belonging to the AWFamily of products, the AW189 (8.3/8.6 tonne) combines superior payload and range with advanced technologies to successfully operate a wide range of missions such as search and rescue, energy industry support, passenger transport, firefighting, and law enforcement.  Unique features of the helicopter include the capability of the main transmission to run without oil for 50 minutes and a built-in auxiliary power unit. The AW189 is available with more than 200 certified kits and delivered with a comprehensive support and training service package tailored to meet specific customer requirements to maximize mission effectiveness and safety of operations. The type is also certified for an automatic data transmission system enabling the aircraft to transmit performance data to a ground station using satellite communication in flight, 4G cell connectivity, or Wi-Fi when on the ground. It offers a secure way to share an accurate picture of each flight so that Leonardo experts can assess data quickly, thus optimizing maintenance and support. Over 140 AW189s have been ordered, and more than 90 delivered to operators worldwide to date. After 10 years since its certification, the AW189 remains the world’s most successful super-medium category helicopter by market size, number of operators, countries, and applications.   

PW200 helicopter engine family powers the majority of light-twin helicopters flying today.

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, California (February 27, 2024)

Pratt & Whitney Canada today congratulated the Swiss Air Force for achieving 200,000 flight hours on its fleet of 45 PW206B2 engines, powering 19 Airbus H135 helicopters. Pratt & Whitney is an RTX (NYSE: RTX) business.

“The PW200 family, of which includes the PW206B2 engines, have proven to be exceptionally mission adaptable, economical to operate and dependable,” said Nicolas Chabée, vice president, marketing and sales, Helicopter Engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “We have worked closely with the Swiss Air Force over the years, helping to ensure the engines in the customer’s H135 fleet remain highly reliable, support exceptional dispatch availability metrics, and have a long and productive life cycle.”

“The missions the Swiss Air Force fleet undertake are always important and many help protect and save lives,” said Nadine Schroeder, communications manager, Swiss Air Force. “In addition, the fleet plays a key part for the training of our pilots. Therefore, they need to be always at the ready and have to serve a variety of purposes over many years. The Airbus H135 helicopter with PW206B2 engines meets that imperative.” The PW200 engine family was among the first helicopter engines to have an integrated digital data capability. This powerful feature has been constantly expanded and enhanced with every new iteration of the engine. More than 6,000 PW200 engines have been delivered with over 4,500 still in service. The PW200 engine fleet has exceeded 16.5 million engine flying hours.

Pratt & Whitney powers many vital aircraft in the Swiss Air Force’s fleet. For example, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engine powers the Pilatus PC-6, de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, Pilatus PC-7 and Pilatus PC-21 aircraft used for military training and aerobatic display. Later this decade, the Swiss Air Force is scheduled to begin receiving a fleet of F-35 fighter jets powered by the F135 engine.

PRESS RELEASE – 26 February 2024

  • Developed by integrated Leonardo Services and Kopter Engineering teams, in collaboration with
    Safran and powered by Garmin® and Spidertracks technology
  • A unified connectivity solution – airframe, avionics, engine – embedded in the baseline
    configuration from day 1 to simplify customer’s operations and maintenance

Leonardo is pleased to bring a connectivity solution that simplifies customers’ operations and maintenance and offers enhanced support. A joint Leonardo Services and Kopter Engineering team has designed and developed this solution, focusing on customers’ needs and addressing challenging regarding weight, form factor, and performance requirements.

“The AW09 connectivity will significantly streamline our customers’ operations and allow them to benefit from Leonardo’s digital offerings. This integrated solution (covering the airframe, the avionics, and the engine) will be part of the baseline configuration,” said Michele Riccobono, CTO of Kopter. “We are delighted to bring such an innovation to this market segment, thanks to a shared vision and collaborative effort with our partners.”
Thanks to a collaboration with Safran Helicopter Engines (SHE), the connectivity solution will allow customers to access aircraft and engine data seamlessly, in alignment with the digital native DNA of the AW09.
“We are proud to partner with Leonardo on this new generation of helicopter, natively designed for data collection and exchange. It is part of Safran Helicopter Engines’ DNA to deliver digital services that allow operators to stay mission-focused by lowering their administrative and maintenance workload,” said Mathieu Albert, Executive VP of Support & Services at SHE “Our deep integrated partnership within the AW09 connectivity solutions will ensure that ARRIEL 2K engine customers will benefit from the best in innovative services and support.”
The AW09 will feature wireless capabilities to offload data in-flight and on-ground without a regular need for ground support equipment, cables, or memory cards. Leonardo has selected the GDL60 for ground connectivity, renewing its trust in Garmin and their products. The GDL60 features Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity and is integrated into the G3000H™ avionics. It enables the downloading of aircraft and engine data and the uploading of aeronautical databases. Upon landing, the AW09 will offload the aircraft and engine data (e.g., flight data, usage data, maintenance messages) wirelessly and automatically.
“We are delighted to work with Leonardo to simplify and reduce the complexities of aircraft management by automatically updating avionics databases, logging flight and engine data and more,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin Vice President of Aviation Sales and Marketing. “Adding these capabilities to the AW09 will help provide confidence to operators that their aircraft is prepared for flight, improving both the pilot and maintenance experience.” For real-time connectivity, customers can choose between a recommended system or connect to equipment of their choice. The Leonardo recommended solution is the Spider X by Spidertracks, a cost-effective and popular solution in the market segment of the AW09. The Spider X features real-time flight monitoring, post-flight 3D￾review, and flight safety insights.
Furthermore, the AW09 will also transfer a selection of CAS (Crew-Alerting System) messages thanks to an
integration developed with Spidertracks and Garmin to enhance flight safety further.
“Spidertracks is proud to be selected by Leonardo, a leader in aircraft design and manufacture, as a preferred partner for delivering real-time aircraft position and situation services. We look forward to introducing AW09 customers to the Spidertracks solution and helping them unlock the operational and safety benefits of having key flight information available in real-time,” said Aleks Banas, Spidertracks CEO.
For those operators who desire to install a different in-flight datalink (e.g., for voice or data transmission over satellite), the AW09 features a baseline standard connector that will stream a selection of aircraft parameters that could be valuable to offload in-flight.

The AW09 data will be analyzed and accessible through several channels:
Leonardo’s Customer Portal: for Leonardo Helicopters’ Digital Services portfolio
Safran’s EngineLife® Customer Portal: for Safran Helicopter Engines Digital Services for Arriel 2K,
including proven Health Monitoring Service (24/7)
Spidertracks portal: for real-time flight monitoring, post-flight 3D-review, and flight-safety insights

Heli-Expo Fly-in, 24 February 2024.

Thanks to HAI Heli-Expo media staff for supplying these images of the event.

PRESS RELEASE – 22nd February 2024

LCI, a leading aviation company, has announced a framework agreement for up to 21 of the latest generation helicopters from Leonardo, comprising of 10 firm plus 11 options. 

The innovative new framework agreement covers the latest generation light-intermediate AW169, intermediate AW139 and super-medium AW189 helicopters, which will collectively address industry renewal and replacement requirements. 

The new helicopters will be delivered through to 2028 and will be aimed at a variety of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), offshore energy, including wind.  The helicopters will be strategically allocated between LCI and SMFL LCI Helicopters, LCI’s joint venture with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL). 

They will offer superior performance, flexibility, and lower CO2 emissions than comparable types and other transportation modes, thereby helping operators to reduce their carbon footprint whilst maintaining mission-critical and life-saving operations.  

In addition, they will be equipped with the latest suite of navigational and safety features and will also be cleared to use Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) in the future, leveraging the certification standards already obtained by Leonardo for SAF use. 

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “We are extremely pleased to extend our deep and long-standing relationship with Leonardo.  The helicopter market is seeking to review, renew and replenish capacity in a disciplined and pragmatic way. We want to help customers, operators and end-users to grow sustainably whilst using some of the most modern, efficient and technologically innovative helicopters in the skies.” 

These commitments build upon LCI’s decade long partnership with Leonardo during which it has already taken delivery of over 50 helicopters making it one of the manufacturer’s largest customers for new equipment. 

Stefano Villanti, SVP Marketing and Sales of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our long-standing partnership with LCI as they continue to rely upon our technology to meet multiple requirements in the market. This will bring greater efficiency to LCI’s customers and help them reduce their environmental impact whilst offering significant performance enhancements.” 

LCI’s fleet currently includes 77 Leonardo helicopters in operation in 20 countries across the globe. Many are deployed on mission critical and socially responsible sectors such as EMS, SAR and offshore wind energy. 

The new helicopters align with LCI’s long-term commitment to sustainable growth.  LCI is a signatory of Aircraft Leasing Ireland’s (ALI) Sustainability Charter, with a commitment to driving forward and achieving responsibility goals, centred around 10 priority sustainability principles, including a commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.