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Bell hopeful on renewed Philippine 412EPI interest

Bell appears hopeful that it can revive, in some form, an order from the Philippines for 412EPI medium-twin transport helicopters that was cancelled almost as soon as it was announced.

Unveiled at the Singapore air show on 6 February, the 16-unit commitment for the nation's air force was axed just seven days later on the orders of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Bell assembles the 412EPI at its plant in Mirabel, Canada and had faced internal criticism over the sale thanks to alleged human rights violations by Manilla, triggering the cancellation.

But Patrick Moulay, Bell senior vice-president commercial business – international, speaking on 27 April, specifically referenced the Asia-Pacific country as a potential future customer for the 412EPI.

Noting that there is "commercial in-confidence information" that he cannot reveal, Moulay nonetheless says that talks with the Philippines are ongoing.

"We are still discussing to see how we can address the missions and operational needs of our customers," he says.

"We are talking to them on a daily basis… but you should wait for a few more weeks before we go into more details."

Moulay indicates that there are a number of deals in the pipeline for the 412EPI "which are extremely close to being signed"; these will likely be ready to be unveiled at July's Farnborough air show, he adds.

Bell recently sealed an order with Montenegro for two examples of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-9-powered type.

On a recent earnings call, Scott Donnelly, boss of parent company Textron, revealed that in the first quarter Bell had closed "two multi-aircraft orders" for the 412, without providing further details.

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