AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that Starspeed Ltd. of the UK has signed a preliminary sale contract for one AW169 light intermediate helicopter plus an option for an additional aircraft. The helicopter will be used to perform VIP transport missions in the United Kingdom. The order marks the entrance of the all new AW169 into the important UK VIP market and further expands the significant and rapidly growing success already achieved by the AW169 in the UK and worldwide for various applications.
Starspeed Ltd is a UK based helicopter management company, established in 1978 and specialising in the VVIP transport market. Starspeed offers the ultimate in executive helicopter charter services for London, the UK and Europe, as well as aircraft management and advanced pilot training services.
Emilio Dalmasso, Senior Vice President Commercial Business Unit, AgustaWestland said “We are delighted to have Starspeed as the first UK customer for the AW169 VIP, the only new generation helicopter in its category in decades. We are confident that this sale represents the first of many for the UK’s VIP/corporate transport market and that the AW169 is set to become the benchmark helicopter in its category in this market.”
He went on to say “The unrivalled combination of high performance, cabin space and comfort, latest safety standard, maintainability and state-of-the-art flight and mission technology featured in the AW169, will be strongly beneficial to Starspeed’s customers in offering the ultimate flight experience.”
Gary Butcher, Managing Director for Starspeed Ltd, commented “The history of corporate helicopters has so far been a story of finding acceptable compromise, with no single helicopter really standing out as the ideal combination of price, performance and maintainability for the market. In the AW169, Starspeed recognises the start of a new chapter in the story of corporate helicopter services, one where there is no compromise and every performance indicator and success factor is built in, through design and an emphasis on customer requirements. The AW169 is just the product we have been waiting for.”
More than 70 AW169 helicopters have now been ordered for a wide range of missions including corporate transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, utility and offshore transport. With three prototypes already flying, the fourth prototype expected to take to the air for the first time in early 2013, the AW169 is on schedule to achieve certification in 2014.
The AgustaWestland plant in Yeovil is set to play a crucial role in the design and manufacturing of the AW169 and the company sees growing business opportunities in the future for civil rotorcraft in the UK helicopter market.
A versatile, new generation twin engine light intermediate category helicopter, the 4.5 tonne AW169 has been designed in response to the growing market demand for an aircraft that delivers high performance, meets all the latest safety standards and has multi-role capabilities. The AW169 incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems.
The AW169 is part of the AgustaWestland family of new generation helicopters that includes the AW139 and AW189 models, which posses the same high performance flight characteristics and safety features as well as sharing a common cockpit layout, design philosophy and maintenance concept. This commonality will allow more effective operations for customers operating helicopter fleets across the 4 to 8.5 tonne categories.