Ivory Coast receiving AW139 VIP helicopter


The Ivory Coast government will receive a single AW139 helicopter from AgustaWestland, which will be used for VIP transport duties.

The aircraft was seen carrying out test flights near AgustaWestland’s factory at Vergiate on April 13, in Ivory Coast markings, reports Air Forces Daily,.

In February AgustaWestland announced it had received four new orders for its AW139 helicopter in West Africa and planned to establish a regional service centre in the area. The orders were announced as coming from four undisclosed government customers, which would use the helicopters for transporting passengers.

The company added that its growing fleet in the region would soon be supported by a new Authorized Service Centre, which would soon bring AgustaWestland services even closer to the numerous customers who will benefit from its maintenance and spares facilities.

AgustaWestland in September 2012 appointed Caverton Helicopters in Nigeria as an authorised service centre for its AW139. Caverton flies half a dozen supporting the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

AgustaWestland has sold approximately 60 AW139s in Africa, which are operated by a mix of civil, paramilitary and military customers. For example in June 2013 AgustaWestland announced that the Senegalese Air Force had ordered a single AW139. Libya from 2010 took delivery of five AW139s for its Libyan General Security (police and justice) department and Egypt in April 2012 received two AW139s in search and rescue configuration for its Air Force. The first South African AW139 was delivered in late 2006.

The AW139 can cruise at 306 km/h over nearly a thousand kilometres. To date, orders for almost 840 AW139 helicopters have been placed by over 220 customers from almost 70 countries for roles such as VIP/corporate transport, passenger transport, law enforcement, fire fighting, offshore transport, search and rescue, emergency medical services, disaster relief and maritime patrol.

AgustWestland said that the AW139 is the only helicopter in its class to meet the latest civil safety standards and features Cat. A (Class 1) performance, a 30 minute run dry capable main gearbox and an advanced Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS).