Gulf Helicopters to buy 15 AW189s from Italian firm

January 22, 2014 - 12:05:34 am

H E Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada and Daniele Romiti exchanging documents during the signing ceremony yesterday.

DOHA: Gulf Helicopters, a company owned by Gulf International Services (GIS), has signed yesterday a firm order for fifteen AW189 helicopters with AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company.

The contract was signed by the Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of GIS H E Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, and Daniele Romiti, Chief Executive Officer of AgustaWestland. Also present during the signing ceremony were Guido De Sanctis, the Italian Ambassador, and Said Mubarak Al Mohannadi, Director for Operations of Qatar Petroleum and Chairman of the Board of Gulf Helicopters.

Yesterday’s signing follows the preliminary sale contract announced in early 2012. Under the contract, the first two aircraft are planned to be delivered in 2014 and all helicopters will achieve operational readiness by 2017. 

Dr Al Sada said that Gulf Helicopters has established a strong cooperation with AgustaWestland since 2007, being one of the first operators of the AW139 model in Qatar and in the whole Middle East region. He pointed out that the signing of the contract for 15 new AW189 came as the latest phase of this close cooperation between the two companies. “Gulf Helicopters has also been appointed by AgustaWestland as an Authorised Service Centre for maintaining the existing AW139 helicopters manufactured by the company, and it is also the first and only company in the world to be classified as a helicopter operator with an Authorised Training Centre in the Middle East for the AW139 in accordance with AgustaWestland standards”, the Minister said.

Dr Al Sada added: We look forward to seeing Gulf Helicopters appointed soon as an Authorised Service & Training Centre for the new AW189 model.”

Mohamed Al Mohannadi, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Helicopters, said: “With 15 units in its fleet and over 47,000 of flying hours already recorded, Gulf Helicopters’ experience in operating, maintaining and managing the AW 139 in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East Asia and Europe over the past six years has helped in our decision to purchase the 8-tonne class twin engine helicopter, AW189.” 

Al Mohannadi explained that “the AW189, which hails from the same family of new generation helicopters such as the AW139, can add an advantage to the company’s outstation operations, where longer range capabilities are required.”

Daniele Romiti, CEO of AgustaWestland, said: “We are delighted to see how increasingly strong is our partnership with Gulf Helicopters with the signing of a significant number of firm orders for the all new AW189 helicopter. Gulf Helicopters, already a prime operator of the AW139 in the region, will also become the first customer to introduce the family concept into operational service in the whole area. We are confident that they will perform a quantum leap forward in operational effectiveness, versatility and fleet management.”

Assembly and flight testing of the first batch of offshore-configured AW189 production aircraft is ongoing at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant in 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 familiarisation with the type and speed up operational readiness once the aircraft are delivered to service, offering unprecedented advantages to the AW189 operators.

Gulf Helicopters Company is a major AW139 operator with three units on order and 15 already in operation.  It is also an authorised service centre of AgustaWestland for their AW139s and is also one of the first companies to have its own full flight simulator for the AW139 for its own and third party use. 

Recently, Gulf Helicopters has been established as an AgustaWestland Authorised Training Centre, an agreement that further cements the strong relationship between the two companies which will now jointly offer AW139 pilot training services to the market, while strengthening the growing global support and training footprint for AgustaWestland aircraft.

The Peninsula