A total of 69 Eurocopter helicopters were ordered at this month’s Heli-Expo international helicopter event in Las Vegas, Nevada, with bookings covering products ranging from the single-engine AS350 to the 11 ton EC225.
Among trends reflected by new business are the continued strength in heliborne transportation for the oil and gas industry, sustained demand in the emergency medical services marketplace, and a further emergence of the helicopter leasing sector, Eurocopter said.
Eurocopter also utilized Heli-Expo 2013 to debut the newest enhanced member in its product line: the mid-sized, multipurpose twin-engine EC135 T3/P3, which received orders from three launch customers.
“The atmosphere at this year’s event continued to be one of optimism as the industry sustained its recovery, and Eurocopter is well positioned to answer the increased demand for modern, capable helicopters,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling.
Eurocopter orders announced at Heli-Expo were paced by Milestone Aviation Group’s booking for 14 heavy-lift EC225s and five medium-weight EC175s – bringing this helicopter leasing company’s overall Eurocopter order backlog to a value of nearly $1 billion. The EC225s and EC175s for Milestone will be configured to the requirements of its operating partners in applications such as crew change missions to offshore oil and gas platforms, as well as search and rescue.
Milestone and Eurocopter also revealed an innovative agreement at Heli-Expo for cooperative marketing of Milestone’s growing helicopter portfolio, backed by Eurocopter’s comprehensive Parts-by-the-Hour (PBH) support services.
Bristow Group signed an agreement covering up to 12 EC175s for transportation services in the offshore energy industry. The first series production EC175 was exhibited in Bristow’s colors at Heli-Expo, where it made a stopover on its U.S. demonstration tour.
Eurocopter’s new mid-sized EC135 T3/P3 twin-engine rotorcraft attracted significant attention in its first presentation at Heli-Expo, with a trio of international customers placing launch orders: Air Methods and Norsk Luftambulanse ordering six each for emergency medical services; and Aiut Alpin Dolomites booking one helicopter for its mountain rescue operations.
The EC135 T3/P3 is offered with two upgraded engine options, along with increased-length main rotor blades and optimized FADEC software – providing significantly improved hot/high performance, increased maximum takeoff weight, extended range and an improved flight envelope.
Orders for other members of Eurocopter’s EC135 family announced at Heli-Expo involved an agreement with emergency medical services (EMS) provider Midwest Medical Transport for an evolved EC135 P2e version; the order from Med-Trans Corporation for an EC135 in the EMS configuration; as well as one EC135 for Phoenix Heli-flight to be used in emergency medical services, search and rescue, and environmental management. Completing these bookings were an EC135 T2e evolved version acquired by The Washington Companies for corporate transport, along with an EC135 for Apoyo Logístico Aéreo to be deployed in flights to off-shore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
For the EC145, transactions announced at Heli-Expo were Avincis Group’s agreement for 10 EC145 T2 rotorcraft – the latest member of Eurocopter’s 4-ton-category twin-engine helicopter – to be deployed in emergency medical services work; a memorandum of understanding from Phoenix Heli-Flight for an EC145 T2 to be used in emergency response as well as oil and gas missions; and Memorial MedFlight’s order for one EC145.
Fox Aviation ordered one EC130 T2 from Eurocopter’s light single-engine helicopter family for private operation; Hospital Wing (Memphis Medical Center Air Ambulance Service) purchased an EC130 B4 for medical airlift; and Peak Aviation acquired an EC130 T2 as platform for movie production, photo sessions and in the utilization of infrared equipment. Also in the light single-engine product range, the transactions at Heli-Expo involved two AS350 B2s for utility missions with Phoenix Heli-Flight; while Universal Helicopters acquired one AS350 B3e to support its missions in Newfoundland and Labrador for mineral exploration, environmental, construction, arctic operations, forest fire suppression and passenger transport.
Eurocopter’s medium-lift Dauphin helicopter family logged an order at Heli-Expo with Transportes Aereos Pegaso for two EC155s, to be deployed in missions serving Gulf of Mexico deepwater oil and gas platforms.
In other Heli-Expo news, it was announced that Peruvian operator Servicios Aéreos de Los Andes will operate two modernized Super Puma AS332L helicopters through a lease and support contract with Vector Financial Services, a subsidiary of Eurocopter’s Vector Aerospace Corporation affiliate. Additionally, Eurocopter approved the Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America operation as an authorized service centre for the AS332 family.