Sabah, northern Borneo-based Sazma Aviation has leased an AW139 from Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) for offshore transport operations supporting the energy industry sector in Malaysia from its base in Kota Kinabalu International airport. If and when required, the helicopter will also carry out VIP transport missions. This is the third AW139 leased by Sazma and brings to 27 the number of Leonardo Helicopters procured by ADA to date, most of them AW139s.
The highlights of this latest aircraft to be handed over include the Honeywell Primus Epic Phase 8 core avionics software release which adds advanced synthetic vision; improved 2D maps and wireless data loading for even greater all-weather capabilities and mission effectiveness; and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system). This latest standard increases crew situational awareness and reduces workload for operations at night or in marginal weather.
The advanced synthetic vision system assists with navigation and landing approaches when operating within challenging terrain, oil rigs and other demanding scenarios, accomplished via 3D presentation of the external scenario including surrounding terrain, obstacles, runways and helipads within the background of the primary flight display. A user-friendly 2D interactive navigation (INAV) feature showing the helicopter position and flight plan on a map into the multi-functional display (MFD) delivers unparalleled navigation system alignment and precision with the actual flight path taking into account environmental factors. Phase 8 has also wireless connectivity embedded, providing high speed data access for flight plans transfer and maintenance data gathering from the aircraft. Additionally, custom approach functionality provides the capability to design, set and fly an automated approach to any user-defined location, including oil rig helidecks.
This delivery further strengthens the partnership between Leonardo and ADA as well as the presence of the AW139 in Malaysia and in the world's energy industry market as the benchmark helicopter in its category. Leonardo and ADA have been collaborating for over 15 years and extended this collaboration to include to comprehensive localised support, maintenance and overhaul services in UAE around 10 years ago with the establishment of the AgustaWestland Aviation Services joint venture and subsequent training and simulation capabilities. In more recent years, ADA has also added to its fleet the latest generation AW169 light intermediate twin, the best possible complement to the AW139 in the light-intermediate category, leveraging the unique AW family advantages with a similar design and latest standards.
Abu Dhabi Aviation is a national shareholding company and the largest commercial helicopter operator in the MENA region. Established in 1976, the company owns a fleet of more than 50 helicopters and several fixed wing aircraft. ADA also operates aircraft for various entities, has won multiple international aviation awards and has completed more than 1,000,000 safe flying hours.