Eurocopter has sold 2 EC155 long-range medium-lift helicopters to the Dalian Municipal Public Security Bureau (DMPSB) in northern China. The first has already been delivered—it was used for security patrols during last month's "Summer Davos" meeting of the World Economic Forum in Dalian. The second is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2012. A spokesman for DMPSB noted its suitability for "discrete surveillance work." There are 15 EC155s in China, 11 of them used by CITIC Offshore Helicopter for oil and gas operations.
Eurocopter's plan to open a centralized service center in Ireland has hit a snag. CFDT, the union representing most of the company's workers in France, has complained to the French government that the change move cost jobs at Eurocopter facilities in La Courneuve, near Paris, and Marignane, near Marseille. Complicating the picture, the union points out that the company has received a French research tax credit for its development of the X4 Dauphin replacement. French employment laws are heavily stacked in the union's favor, so it could take Eurocopter some time to negotiate a solution to this conflict.
In the UK, Stobart Group has taken delivery of an AgustaWestland GrandNew for use as an executive transport. It replaces an A109E Power and will be based at CAX (Carlisle, England), one of 2 airports owned by the company. Stobart Group is a major transportation and warehousing firm.
Sikorsky has received an $800,000 grant from the Chemung County (NY) Industrial Development Authority to expand its existing 120,000 sq ft facility at ELM (Elmira NY). The company will locate its new operations in the building that formerly housed the Wings of Angels Aircraft Museum. The new space will house a customer delivery center, administrative and engineering offices, and manufacturing to support UH60 Black Hawk, Northrop Grumman MQ8 Fire Scout and reconnaissance aircraft production. The project retains 591 existing jobs and has already created 196 new ones, with more expected to come. Total cost of the project is $12.7 million.
Vinacopter, believed to be the first private helicopter service in Vietnam, was due to begin operations by the beginning of November. Its first aircraft is a Eurocopter AS350 leased from Azur Hélicoptère in France. Vinacopter is based at SGN (Intl, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).
Zuhai Helicopter Branch has ordered 2 Sikorsky S92s and an S76 to support its customers' offshore oil operations in the South China Sea. Zuhai, a subsidiary of China Southern Airlines, has used Sikorsky helicopters since 1984 and has the largest S76 fleet in Asia. When the new aircraft are delivered, Zuhai will have 13 S76s and 3 S92s.
AgustaWestland has had a busy month. The Japan National Police Agency ordered 3 AW139 medium twin helicopters for use by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the Nagaono Prefectural Police and the Hokkaido Prefectural Police. All 3 are equipped with TCAS, EGPWS, satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS)-capable GPS, and various mission-specific accessories. More than 30 AW139s are in service in Japan, many of them in public safety departments.
Russian Helicopters has signed an MOU for a planned order of 20 AW139s. The aircraft will be assembled in Russia by HeliVert—a joint venture of AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters—for delivery to UTair Aviation JSC. UTair is the world's largest operator of helicopters, and the largest helicopter service provider to the United Nations Organization, with more than 330 aircraft.
The police in China's Guangxi province have taken delivery of an AW139. It will be used for civil protection and disaster relief as well as police roles. It joins an AW109 Power light twin already in use at the Nanning Public Security Bureau. In addition, Qinghai Zhingao Natural Gas and Chemical has ordered 2 AW139s. One aircraft, configured for mixed VIP and utility missions, will operate from Gulmuc, Qinghai Province, in western China, at ground elevations of 9200 ft. The other will function as a VIP transport in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in southwest China. More than 560 AW139s are in service around the world.
American Eurocopter has received a $9.5-million order for 4 EC120s and a support package from the Baltimore (City) Police Dept. The department already operates 4 EC120s, which will be out of service for their 12-year overhauls during 2012.