In a press release Leonardo announced that its AW609 tiltrotor set another major milestone further expanding its future user base with the addition of an undisclosed, long-established European operator of Leonardo helicopters.
Under the signed agreement, this operator aims at introducing four AW609s to carry out a range of passenger transport missions supporting its point-to-point operations worldwide. For this purpose, the tiltrotors will have different dedicated configurations including VIP/Corporate and Passenger/Utility transport.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “With the distinguished characteristics of the AW609, combining turboprop-like performance (speed, range, altitude) and rotorcraft versatility (vertical take-off / landing and hovering) in all-weather conditions and with its limited infrastructural impact thanks to its helicopter-like footprint; the new operator will deliver outstanding services in its markets. Generally, we’re convinced, more than ever, that the AW609 will truly revolutionize point-to-point connections and other air operations, providing a major contribution as the use of air space evolves further.”
This latest result in Europe comes after the first appearance of the AW609 in the Middle East with its official presentation in Dubai in late 2021, which marked the global commercial launch of the revolutionary multirole aircraft as it gets closer to the world’s first civil certification for a tiltrotor. The AW609 will also contribute to maintain Leonardo’s leadership in the VIP multiengine rotorcraft market, which has accounted for a 45% global share in value over the last ten years, and will be part of the range of VIP solutions offered under the recently launched Agusta brand which embodies the company’s distinctive design, technology and service philosophy and values in the executive transport sphere.
The AW609 excels at providing fast point-to-point transportation at long ranges, whether it is connecting city centres or providing timely access to remote locations, hosting up to nine passengers in the comfort of a pressurized cabin and it is therefore poised to transform not only private and business travel, but also emergency medical service (EMS), search and rescue (SAR), offshore operations and patrol, among other tasks and with both private and government users.
The first production AW609 has recently started ground testing in Philadelphia while the second one is currently being assembled at the same Leonardo facility in USA. The programme development has logged in excess of 1700 flight hours in USA and Italy to date. Users will be provided with comprehensive support and training packages primarily headquartered at the Company’s new Training Academy in Philadelphia, opened in 2021, also including the world’s first AW609 Full Flight Simulator.