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Milestone Aviation Group — a GE Capital Aviation Services company and helicopter leasing company — and Leonardo announced on Nov. 13 that Falcon Aviation of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) will expand its Leonardo AW169 helicopter fleet with the addition of a further three aircraft.
The light-intermediate twin helicopters will have multi-mission capability with entry into service in first quarter of 2018. The aircraft will be acquired through operating lease, and they will represent the first helicopter lease transaction for Falcon.
“We are delighted to partner with Falcon Aviation and grow our presence in the Middle East,” said Milestone vice president of commercial, Michael York. “When Milestone invested in a team in Dubai two years ago, it was with the goal of building our support for local operators like Falcon.”
“Falcon Aviation was the global launch customer for the offshore-configured AW169, and subsequently took delivery of a VIP configured AW169,” said Leonardo Helicopters’ chief business officer Carlo Gualdaroni. “We are thrilled the unique capabilities of this new generation model have met Falcon’s diverse operating goals and they have chosen to increase their fleet to include 11 Leonardo Helicopters.”
With the addition of three AW169, Falcon Aviation’s fleet will include five AW169, two AW189 helicopters and four additional Grand and GrandNew light-twin helicopters. The AW169 and AW189 models, used by Falcon Aviation, are part of Leonardo’s family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW139. These helicopters all possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy.
This approach facilitates synergies for operators of fleets across the four to nine tonne weight categories in areas such as training, flight operations, maintenance and support. The combination of AW169 and AW189 offshore gives Falcon Aviation and its customers unmatched benefits in terms of efficiency, capability and safety.
Falcon Aviation has also recently set a major operational milestone with their first AW169, which has become the global fleet leader in terms of flight hours, out of a total of 40 helicopters of this model in service with customers worldwide to date.