AW opens Libyan plant

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AgustaWestland has opened a helicopter assembly and maintenance factory in Libya in a joint venture with Tripoli at a cost of almost 18 million euros. The facility is at Abou Aisha airport, 60 km South of Tripoli and will be operated by the Libyan Italian Advanced Technology Company (LIATEC).

AgustaWestland in a statement says the opening marks “the latest major achievement for AgustaWestland in Libya where the company has recently sold more than 20 helicopters including AW109 Power light twins for border patrol duties, AW119Ke single engine aircraft for emergency medical service missions and AW139 medium twins for general security.”

LIATEC is a joint stock company incorporated in Libya and established through an agreement signed in January 2006 by three shareholders – the Libyan Company for Aviation Industry (50%), Finmeccanica (25%) and AgustaWestland (25%). One of its stated objectives is improving and developing the aviation and electronic systems capabilities in the country.

The new dedicated facility at Abou Aisha includes final assembly lines for single and twin engine helicopters. The final assembly of helicopters expands on the existing maintenance and training activities performed by LIATEC. The new facility will also enable the JV to expand its support and maintenance capabilities for helicopters as well as for upgrading training and transport airplanes with the latest generation of avionic systems.

The company is also already offering maintenance and training services at its facility at Tajura, east of Tripoli, for rotary wing aircraft and aircrew. “A comprehensive range of training services is being provided including basic, advanced, conversion to type and mission training for rotary and fixed wing pilots,” AgustaWestland says.

Maintenance training for various platforms and systems is also being provided to aircraft technicians. Support services, covering the AW119Ke, AW109 family and AW139 helicopters, comprise a range of solutions including helicopter and airplane maintenance and refurbishment, overhaul and up-grades, helicopter interior refurbishment and spare parts supply, repair and overhaul as well as avionic and instrument maintenance.

LIATEC is also promoting industrial cooperation with local industries and with local universities in the field of research and development. LIATEC is hiring almost all of its personnel from within Libya and it is committed to improving local employment through the utilization of young engineers and specialists coming from Libyan specialised schools and universities. LIATEC also intends to expand its influence by promoting its capabilities and products in Africa, opening a real “Gateway to [the] African Market”.

Pic: Two AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters in South African Air Force livery. SA operates 29 of the type and often likes to portray itself as the “Gate to Africa”. Distance as well as structural and other problems often undermines that aspiration