SonAir Airline Services (SonAir), owned by the Angolan national petroleum company Sonangol, has placed an order for two AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters with Leonardo. The contract includes a comprehensive customer support and training package as well as options for an additional two aircraft. The AW139s will be used to carry out transport operations supporting the national oil and gas industry, replacing ageing helicopters, with deliveries expected in Q1 2023.
The Angolan and overall African energy market is showing significant potential for Leonardo's latest generation helicopter models. The African oil and gas market is delivering promising signs, considering reserves and the opportunities for new projects. With over 200 units, the helicopter fleet comprises types from various OEMs supporting the energy industry in Africa, one of the biggest in the world. Over the last eight years, Leonardo has been the only manufacturer able to expand its presence in the African offshore market, almost doubling the number of aircraft thanks to the AW family range of models - the AW139, AW189 and, more recently, the AW169 - which deliver greater versatility and performance and higher safety standards. With over 60 per cent of the existing offshore helicopter fleet still made of old design types, Leonardo's helicopters are well positioned to meet fleet replacement and modernisation programmes among operators in the region.
The world's most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, the AW139 has logged orders for over 1,250 units from more than 290 customers in over 80 countries logging in excess of 3.3 million flight hours to date, and it is the benchmark platform in the energy industry today. The AW139 delivers outstanding capabilities, technology and safety to meet stringent requirements from operators for tasks in harsh conditions to maximise effectiveness. The type features avionics with 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.