China's CITIC Offshore Helicopter Company (COHC) has signed a contract for four AW139 medium twin engine helicopters for offshore oil and gas production operations. The deliveries will be completed by first half of 2023, expanding the Leonardo fleet operated by COHC to 10 helicopters with eight AW139s, one AW169 and one AW109 Power.
Founded in 1983 as the first professional helicopter operator in China right after the country's opening up, COHC became the first listed general aviation company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2000 and is still the only publicly traded general aviation company in China. A prime helicopter operator in Asia, COHC operates more than 80 helicopters for a wide range of missions covering offshore transport, HEMS and utility roles. It is also the exclusive helicopter operator for China's polar exploratory missions.
The contract signed follows the order of two AW189s by the Beijing Police in November 2021, six AW189s by the Rescue and Salvage Bureau of Ministry of Transport in March 2022 as well as the recent order of one AW139 and one Trekker by China's Xiangjiang General Aviation Development Company.
The Xiangjiang GA helicopters are for use by various municipal branches in the Hunan province, performing public HEMS, fire-fighting and public security missions. The project represents a brand new public sponsored approach in the establishment of a nationwide HEMS and aerial fire-fighting network in China.
Hunan, with a population of 66 million and a GDP of $700 billion, is the first province in China to reform its low altitude airspace and pioneer a public HEMS service through the establishment of Xiangjiang GA. With the fleet of AW139s and AW109 Trekkers to be delivered within 2023, Xiangjiang GA will be able to perform a wide range of public services missions, with future fleet and capability growth in mind.
The new AW139 and AW109Trekker will continue to expand the number of Leonardo helicopters in China. Leonardo has already delivered more than 40 AW139 and 13 AW109 Trekker helicopters to serve various Chinese operators for OGP, EMS, VIP and law enforcement missions there.
The four-axis auto-pilot will be applied on Xiangjiang GA's AW109Trekker to further increase product safety and manoeuvrability.
Featuring the latest Phase 8 avionics system, the AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology and safety for tasks in harsh conditions. The type features advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilot workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique more than 60 minute run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits.