HAI reports: Leonardo confirms orders and agreements for about 180 helis


AW189 w Bristow livery. In flight with offshore rig scene.

Leonardo Helicopters has confirmed orders and agreements for about 180 aircraft at HAI Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California. Topping its show order book are 130 helicopters of various types from The Helicopter Company (THC), 30 aircraft with Metro Aviation, 10 orders for AW189s from Bristow and nine orders for AW09s and AW109s from UK and Ireland distributor Sloane Helicopters.

The manufacturer’s deal with THC, owned by Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, covers 20 AW139s plus a framework agreement for more than 130 helicopters of various types. THC is acquiring the aircraft to strengthen its emergency medical services (EMS) and search and rescue (SAR) missions alongside  passenger transport in the country. The announcement was made during a ceremony held at the event in California. Deliveries of the AW139s are expected in 2025 and 2026. The intention to buy the 20 AW139s was announced at last year’s Heli-Expo. After delivery of the latest firmly ordered AW139s, THC will have a total fleet of about 50 AW139s, making THC one of the largest AW139 operators worldwide.  

The framework agreement for over 130 aircraft includes AW109s, AW169s, AW139s and AW189Ks for various applications. The first deliveries are scheduled for the first half of this year and expected to run for the next seven years. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, MD, Leonardo Helicopters said: “We’re proud of this THC’s massive helicopter fleet expansion plan leveraging our technology. Our state-of-the-art platforms will support their service capability growth program with key life-saving and transport missions for the communities they serve.” 

Metro Aviation

Metro Aviation, the US privately-owned HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) operator and service provider signed a distributor agreement for the AW09 next generation single engine helicopter. Metro will act as Leonardo’s distributor for the type in North America for all civil market applications. The agreement includes a commitment for 30 helicopters that will translate into preliminary sales contracts.

Mike Stanberry, president and CEO, Metro Aviation said he first saw the 09 prototype in 2017 and has been excited about bringing it to the US market since then. “Metro has enjoyed a great partnership with Leonardo and designed multiple interiors for the 09.  We look forward to integrating it into our fleet and performing completions for air medical, law enforcement, tourism, and beyond,” he said.


From Bristow, Leonardo logged a new AW189 framework agreement for 10 firm orders plus 10 options supporting Bristow fleet expansion plans from 2025 to 2028.

The operator currently deploys 21 AW189s worldwide with another five due off the assembly line this year. Bristow uses the AW189 in its offshore Energy Services business and its Government Services business supporting SAR operations in the UK, the Netherlands, and from next year, in Ireland.

Cutillo, from Leonardo said: “This latest step supporting our key partner Bristow is further testament to the outstanding capabilities of the AW189 as the aircraft of choice in its category for energy support missions among prime operators and countries.” The two companies have partnered for more than 28 years, with Bristow using a range of aircraft including: the AW119 single engine, AW109 light twin, AW139 intermediate twin, and AW189 super medium. Bristow’s fleet of Leonardo helicopters will account for nearly 110 aircraft with the arrival of these additional 10 AW189 helicopters.

Sloane Helicopters

UK and Ireland operator and distributor Sloane Helicopters is to extend its partnership with Leonardo by  signing preliminary sales contracts for nine AW09 next-generation single engine aircraft, and new orders for two AW109 Grand New and two AW109 Trekker light twins. 

David George, chairman, Sloane, said: “On the back of record AW109 deliveries, we are excited to embark on the next step of our journey with Leonardo with the AW09, an all-new airframe which represents a technological leap forward in the single turbine market.”

The AW109 series remain popular for VIP and corporate transport, according to the company. Leonardo’s regional distributor has taken delivery of 14 AW109s in 2022-2023  and plans to receive six more this year. The latest order for four new AW109s are expected to be delivered in 2025 and 2026.  

Sloane is also an authorised service centre, providing maintenance and support services for most GrandNew and all AW169 VIP helicopters in the region.