AgustaWestland has gained certification for its new 8.3t AW189, paving the way for delivery of the first two helicopters to launch customer Bristow Group in the coming days.
The super-medium, twin-engined rotorcraft achieved EASA approval on 7 February, and will make its debut in an offshore transport configuration.
It is a little under three years since the 16-seat AW189 was unveiled at the Paris air show, and since then it has achieved strong sales in the offshore segment. In addition, it secured a notable success in the UK's search and rescue contest, where it will enter service with Bristow Helicopters from 2015.
Although the majority of the General Electric CT7-powered helicopters will be assembled in Vergiate, Italy, AgustaWestland's factory in Yeovil, UK will produce the 11 aircraft destined for the UK SAR contract.
Yeovil will then serve as the assembly site for all SAR-configured AW189s globally.
EASA approval for the type comes hot on the heels of similar validation for the rival Airbus Helicopters EC175 in mid-January.