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Leonardo Helicopters is the World Leader in the Twin-Engine V.I.P Helicopter Market

Issue 23 - 2024
Leonardo Helicopters is the World Leader in  the Twin-Engine V.I.P Helicopter Market

The 2024 edition of Europe’s major executive air transport exhibition EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition) will provide Leonardo a first chance to update the market what’s next in its VIP/corporate transport helicopter capability offer under the new Agusta VIP (Stand U58) brand. To reinforce its leading position in the world’s VIP/corporate helicopter market Leonardo has launched its Agusta luxury sub-brand in late 2021 following a similar move by rival Airbus in 2017, when that company announced Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH). The Agusta VIP brand represents Leonardo’s philosophy and distinctive values in terms of design, technology, and services in the executive transport rotorcraft market. Leveraging the heritage of an iconic name embedded in the helicopter industry community and a symbol of commitment to stay at the forefront of innovation, Agusta is a unique combination of best in class performance, comfort, and refined Italian style.

As of February 2024, Leonardo Helicopters has delivered approximately 1.200 helicopters to around 290 commercial and military users worldwide. Leonardo Helicopters delivered a total of 149 helicopters in 2022, and 185 helicopters in 2023, in 2024 both the number of new orders and the number of helicopters expected to be delivered are anticipated to be higher compared to 2023. With a global fleet of more than 900 helicopters, carrying out a range of passenger missions, including private and corporate transport, charter, scheduled services and VIP/government transport, Leonardo Helicopters is the global leader in this sector. With a 45% share over the last ten years, Leonardo is the world leader in the twin-engine VIP/corporate helicopter market including private, charter and VVIP/Government transport services, thanks to the most modern and largest product range. 

Leonardo is also leveraging the Agusta brand for today’s and future VIP market initiatives. This brand exemplifies the unique combination of best in class performance, latest technology, comfort and Italian style widely recognised in the market for Leonardo’s VIP-configured helicopters, delivering a unique service and flight experience. To evolve its Agusta luxury sub-brand Leonardo plans to offer dedicated helicopter service centers in the coming years. The first likely will be in Europe. 

At EBACE2024 Leonardo will present an exclusive update of on the Agusta brand exclusives initiatives, with a particular focus on the AGUSTA FOR YOU service and maintenance package dedicated to private operators. The AGUSTA FOR YOU service and maintenance package for private operators is conceived as integral part of the Leonardo VIP offer and it has been already selected by several customers around the world providing turnkey solution in terms of a complete coverage. Developed specifically to meet the needs of corporate rotorcraft operators, it is intended to increase aircraft availability and reduce inventory costs, while optimizing expenses by covering both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of airframe, avionics components and other items. The AGUSTA FOR YOU plan is available to all the Leonardo helicopters, and it offers on demand possibilities of annual interiors refurbishment, coverage of entertainment system (parts and troubleshooting), coverage of engines in the case of unscheduled events (with performance guaranteed) and engine loan service. For those customers who decide to maintain their helicopter at Leonardo facilities, the AGUSTA FOR YOU service plan also provides premium services such as: facilitation in the rental of a “replacement” helicopter, in case of helicopter on maintenance; fuel arrangements; cabin cleaning service; direct ramp access, when hangars are in a commercial airfield. By 2025, with the aim of extending the possibility to access the AGUSTA FOR YOU services through the entire Leonardo global service network, selected Leonardo helicopters Part145 maintenance centers will be renewed with Agusta-branded areas, bringing premium services closer to VIP clients in the main geographical areas such as Europe, the Americas, South Africa, and Australia.

Leonardo VIP helicopters feature the best Italian craftsmanship, advanced technologies, tailor-made design, cutting-edge solutions and the highest possible levels of comfort. Under the Agusta brand there are exclusive options and services dedicated to VIP/corporate helicopter operators, which include for example some “inspirational” interior concepts – called Agusta Interior Moods, a new integrated maintenance service plan, and a dedicated Agusta section in the Leonardo Customer Portal.

Agusta Interior Moods are not predefined VIP cabins but a series of broad design palettes inspired by three of the most striking cities in the world – Firenze, or Florence, London and New York – designed as a way to promote and present to its customers how to create their perfect habitat. The Agusta Interior Moods, initially crated for the AW169, AW139 and AW189 Helicopter types, but will be available across the Leonardo Helicopters’ range, including on the AW609 civil tiltrotor, for which the Company is hoping to complete all activities required for certification of its long-awaited AW609 Tiltrotor by early 2025. This interior concepts feature stylish and specific colors, materials, seat configurations and on-board options. They are designed to allow customers to select and create a perfect environment, mirroring their own distinctive desires, while meeting their own needs. Florence symbolizes the Renaissance and features the sense of warmth, harmony and pureness with a cool classical elegance; London highlight the contrast of old-world refinement and modern style inherent in the UK capital; New York, meanwhile, conveys the cosmopolitan and constantly changing nature of the Big Apple.

Belonging to the AWFamily of products, the AW189 (8.3/8.6 tons) represents the industry benchmark for luxury transportation, with lavish interior designs in which comfort, style and attention to detail deliver an unforgettable flight experience. With the largest passenger cabin in its class, it can accommodate up to 14 passengers in a spacious and relaxing environment. The class-leading speed and low internal vibration and noise provide exceptional passenger comfort. The AW189K with the new Safran Aneto-1K engines, extends AW189 market footprint toward Hot and High environments, ensuring excellent payload retention without affecting platform’s proven reliability to satisfy customers’ requirements in different geographical areas.

The AW189 Helicopter, which shares a common airframe and, to some extent, shared components with the AW149, was configured to meet civil/commercial market needs and made its maiden flight on December 21, 2011. As of January 2024, more than 140 firm orders have been received for the AW189 Helicopter, excluding options, with 90 of these already delivered to users in 10 countries worldwide. According to Leonardo Helicopters data, as of January 2024, there are 46 AW189 helicopters operating in the parapublic market, accumulating over 52.000 flight hours in total with these helicopters.

The AW189 (8.3/8.6 tons) combines superior payload and range with advanced technologies to successfully operate a wide range of missions. The AW189 is the benchmark for long-range operations and can operate in all-weather conditions, day and night, delivering high speed and superior performance also in hover and Cat. A. The helicopter features all the equipment and avionics needed to successfully carry out offshore missions and a spacious cabin to ensure a comfortable journey for passengers. Unique features of the AW189 Helicopter include the main gearbox (transmission)’s capability to run without oil for 50 minutes, a built-in Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), optional automatic data transmission via satellite, 4G cell/Wi-Fi, and more than 200 available kits. Mostly preferred by the offshore Energy Services and SAR operations, the AW189 is powered by a pair of 2.000shp class General Electric CT7-2E1 Turboshaft Engines and 1 x Safran e-APU (60kW). Powered by a pair of Safran Aneto-1K Turboshaft Engines, each generating 2.500shp, and a Safran e-APU (60kW), the AW189K version is usually preferred for Executive & Private Transport services. In March 2013 Leonardo Helicopters demonstrated to the EASA a 50-minute dry run capability for the AW189 main gearbox. The AW189 is the first helicopter ever to enter service with such a capability, which is 20-minutes more than any other currently certified helicopter. The need for dry run capability is vital for all helicopter operators but particularly for those operating in harsh environments such as the offshore sector where immediate landing is not always an option 

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