AgustaWestland is very much the international flagship of Finmeccanica group’s aerospace business, and thanks to its high profitability it looks like it will stay that way for some time to come. AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi believes the UK-Italian helicopter manufacturer will continue growing, and revenue should reach E3.5 billion by 2010.

The AW139 15-seater helicopter is proving extremely successful in the market. In the first quarter of 2007, AgustaWestland signed deals for 28 AW139s, worth a combined E266 million, including 14 for the Saudi Arabian Oil company.

Currently the company has an order backlog of some 240 AW139s, and is operating two assembly lines in order to meet the demand. “Having two assembly lines allows the company to leverage better industrial organisation,” Orsi says.

The company is selling helicopters in Europe, Japan and the US, and orders for its other products (AW109, Grand and AW119 Ke) are steadily increasing. Also performing well is the BA609 tilt-rotor, a joint development between Bell Helicopters and AgustaWestland. So far orders for 70 aircraft from around 20 customers, including government users, have been received.

AgustaWestland has also expanded its training and support offerings, providing a full range of capabilities both in terms of integrated operational support and whole-life training, starting with the UK market. “Both the strategic partnering with UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the integrated Merlin operational support (IMOS) teams have introduced new ground-breaking ways of doing business, which are already delivering real benefits to the MoD and industry, but importantly also to the front line operators,” says Orsi.

AgustaWestland has already signed a similar contract with the Italian MoD, while a growing number of customers are considering the solutions and services the company is offering in the operational and support sector.

A major deal, which allowed AgustaWestland to enter the US rotary-wing market at the highest level was the winning of the “Marine One” US Presidential helicopter fleet replacement programme, with the US101. This sales efforts was lead by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The first VH-71 presidential helicopter is scheduled to fly this month (June 2007).

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook remains part of AgustaWestland’s heritage portfolio, and the company still supports and upgrades the platform for domestic and international customers. The latest CH-47F model has attracted the interest of Italy and UK MoD.

In a bid to satisfy this demand, AgustaWestland has again teamed up with Boeing. “The MoU with Boeing marks the next step in the long and successful collaboration between the two companies. It will also allow us tostrengthen our long-lasting relationship as the CH-47 supplier for the Italian Army” says Orsi.

Source: Flight Daily News