Gulf Helicopters orders for 15 AgustaWestland copters

Doha-based Gulf Helicopters, owned by Gulf International Services (GIS), has signed a firm order with AgustaWestland for 15 AW189 helicopters.
The contract was signed by HE the Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, also GIS chairman, in the presence of AgustaWestland chief executive officer Daniele Romiti at the Qatar Petroleum’s corporate headquarters yesterday.
The signing ceremony 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.
Al-Sada said that Gulf Helicopters had established a strong co-operation with AgustaWestland since 2007, being one of the first operators of the AW139 model in Qatar and in the whole Middle East region. He said the signing of the contract for 15 new AW189 came as the latest phase of this close co-operation between the two companies.
“Gulf Helicopters has also been appointed by AgustaWestland as an Authorised Service Center 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.”
“We look forward to seeing Gulf Helicopters appointed soon as an authorised service and training centre for the new AW189 model.”
Mohamed al-Mohannadi, Gulf Helicopters chief executive officer, said, “With 15 units in its fleet and more than 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, “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.”
Romiti 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.
The AW189 is designed in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole medium helicopter. The new eight-tonne class twin-engine helicopter is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR (search and rescue) missions and has already received orders for more than 80 units, making it the market leader in its class since its launch at Paris Air Show in June 2011.
Gulf Helicopters Company is a major AW139 operator with three units on order and fifteen already in operation. The company has been providing helicopter services since 1970, working with companies throughout the Middle East, India, Far East, North Africa and Europe. It has its own in-house maintenance facility with a team of highly qualified and experienced engineers undertaking fleet maintenance and modification work.
Gulf Helicopters 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.
Also present during the signing ceremony were Italian Ambassador Guido De Sanctis and QP director (operations) Said Mubarak al-Mohannadi, who is also Gulf Helicopters chairman.

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