Leonardo has signed a distributorship agreement with Absolute Aviation Group in South Africa for the civil and commercial market. The agreement, which has the potential to be extended to other southern African nations in the future, includes the AW119Kx single engine, the AW109 GrandNew and AW109 Trekker light twins, and the AW169 light intermediate and AW139 intermediate twin types.
Absolute has also signed a contract for an AW119Kx and an AW109 Trekker, with a commitment to purchase further units from the various models over the next couple of years. Deliveries of the two aircraft are expected in 2020. The order marks the entrance of the AW109 Trekker, the newest light twin model in the Leonardo product range, into the South African market and builds on the significant, well established success of other AW109 variants in the country for a variety of roles. This latest AW119Kx order also grows the presence of the unique single engine helicopter in the country.
A ten day demo tour of an AW119Kx was recently completed at airports in four different regions in South Africa to showcase its extraordinary capabilities in terms of performance, advanced avionics, reliability and versatility. The demonstrations have been deemed a significant success by those attending, accounting for nearly 50 operators who have been given the opportunity to experience its performance and power margins, the capability to fly and carry out its mission in demanding windy conditions, in addition to its outstanding safety standards.
Leonardo helicopters' success in South Africa is further strengthened by the recent contract for an AW139 helicopter in VIP configuration by a private operator. There are over 60 helicopters of various models flying in the country today, for both civil and government roles.