US offshore operator PHI Group has continued its fleet growth plan, signing a framework agreement with Leonardo Helicopters for up to 12 AW189 super-medium-twins, a move signalling its further diversification away from the Sikorsky S-92.

Comprising an undisclosed mixture of firm orders and options, the deal foresees deliveries beginning in 2025.

AW189-c-Leonardo Helicopters

Source: Leonardo Helicopters

AW189s will be configured for offshore oil and gas transport missions

Louisiana-based PHI last year hinted that it was contemplating an order for super-medium-type, disclosing in an October US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that it was “evaluating [its] options with Leonardo regarding the AW189 model.”

PHI’s interest in the AW189 comes on the back of availability issues with the S-92 heavy-twin and follows the signature of a similar framework agreement in September 2023 for up to 20 examples of the Airbus Helicopters H175 – another super-medium type.

In the October SEC filing, PHI noted ongoing problems with the availability of the global S-92 fleet due to parts shortages, adding: “We believe that the Airbus H175 aircraft offers us an option to replace a significant part of our S-92 fleet, positioning us well for the expected growth and expansion in the oil and gas industry.”

The pact with Leonardo also includes service and support provision, plus training solutions for the AW189 and intermediate-twin AW139, a helicopter already operated by PHI.


Source: Sikorsky

PHI sees super-medium types replacing large part of S-92 fleet

Meanwhile, Greece has signed for a trio of AW139s for disaster relief and civil protection missions. Deliveries are due to begin in 2026.

To be operated by the country’s fire brigade, the helicopters will be based in Attica.

Featuring a flexible and modular cabin, the AW139s will be able to accommodate up to five passengers and up to two stretchers. However, rapid conversion to a 14-passenger configuration is also possible.