Africair has ordered a single 407 GXP helicopter and signed a letter of intent (LOI) for two 525 rotorcraft from Bell Helicopter, the company announced, saying they will be used for purposes such as corporate VIP transport and oil and gas.
“The Bell 525 Relentless is proving to be very popular in the Middle East and Africa region with 23 letters of intent signed so far,” said Steve Suttles, Bell Helicopter, vice president Middle East and Africa. “We are excited that Africair, the Independent Representative for Bell Helicopter in 33 countries in Africa, has ordered these aircraft. Africair has represented Bell Helicopter in Africa for over 35 years and has a unique understanding of Africa’s operating environments. We are anticipating the first flight in a matter of weeks with deliveries planned to begin immediately following certification in early 2017.”
Jim Evans, CEO of Africair, stated: “We believe that the Bell 525 Relentless’ incredible performance and multi-mission capability will make it a huge success in Africa. We are also very excited about the performance upgrade on the Bell 407GXP, which takes this proven performer to an even higher level. Both helicopters are destined to be best in class performers”.
The fly-by-wire Bell 525 has been designed to operate safely and reliably in austere environments with decreased pilot workload, the company said, noting that it features a fully integrated touch screen flight deck designed for helicopters, the Garmin G5000H.
The Bell 407GXP has an additional 50 lbs (22.5 kg) of carrying capability, coupled with the new M250 Rolls-Royce engine for better hot and high performance. The aircraft is also equipped with new avionics features such as weight and balance improvements, as well as a transmission TBO extension of +500 hours.