Leonardo has delivered its 1,000th AW139 helicopter.
The 1,000th machine was delivered to Italy’s Guardia di Finanza during an official celebration held at Leonardo’s plant in Vergiate, Varese in Italy in the presence of VIPs, customers, partners and suppliers, as well as the company’s top management and employees.
AW139’s first flight took place at the beginning of 2001. Since then, the helicopter has taken orders for more than 1,100 units from more than 280 customers in over 70 countries on all continents. The aircraft has shown high levels of reliability and operational capabilities with almost 2.5 million flight hours recorded since the first delivery took place at the beginning of 2004.
The AW139 is used for a number of markets: public utility tasks such as search and rescue and air ambulance, law enforcement, firefighting, disaster relief (30 per cent), with the same amount used for offshore transport; around 20 per cent for military tasks with the remainder shared between VIP, institutional and corporate transport missions.
Most important helicopter programme in the last 15 years
The event represented the success of the AW139 as the most important helicopter programme in the last 15 years at an international level, and also to set a production record in the Italian aviation industry’s outlook.
Leonardo’s CEO, Alessandro Profumo, said: “What we celebrate today is much more than the success of a product or of a company. It is the global affirmation of an asset of our entire country. Thanks to the commitment, knowledge and professional skills present at Leonardo and to our products, like the AW139, our host of technologies and history of flight innovation – these all form important pillars of our industrial capabilities. The AW139 is a striking example of the role that Leonardo plays and intends to continue to have in the world. All our values are reflected in the AW139: continuous innovation, internationalisation, proximity to the market and to the customer, and the enhancement of human resources.”
Leonardo Helicopters’ Managing Director, Gian Piero Cutillo, added: “With the AW139 the company has been able to create an extraordinary programme with international roots and with its global success this has allowed us to reach the top of the industry’s world helicopter market. Without the self-denial, the preparation and the passion of workers from different generations and nationalities who believed in and worked on its development, and who still follow it in its operational path by constantly confronting the market and customers, all this would not have been possible.”
The AW139 fleet has a global presence with just under a third of deliveries to Europe, with similar amounts in Asia and Australasia. The aircraft is also used within the Americas and the Middle East. To meet market demand, the helicopter is produced on assembly lines both in Italy, in the Vergiate plant, and in the United States in Philadelphia.
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