The first customer to sign up for a Bell/Agusta AB139 medium twin helicopter in the Asia-Pacific region handed over a £150,000 deposit on the aircraft at the show yesterday.

Joe Moharich, group managing director of Brisbane-based Helitech Industries, placed the deposit with Antonio Giovannini, executive marketing director for Bell/Agusta Aerospace.

Helitech is Bell's approved distributor in the region and Moharich explains: "We don't envisage operating the aircraft ourselves, but we see good market potential in Asia-Pacific. There are offshore opportunities particularly in the Timor area and we're delighted to firm up the order."

Helitech has already ordered two BA609 civil tiltrotors, one for its own use and one for an un-named customer. Moharich says that the huge distances covered by coastal patrols in Australia make the aircraft ideal for the task.

Source: Flight Daily News