Dubai Air Show 2019 – Helicopter order round up


Whilst commercial aviation orders might have been the talk of the town at the Dubai Air Show this week, several helicopter orders were also announced at the show. Bell, Leonardo and Rostec announced orders for 10 more than helicopters apiece.

Absent from the order announcements was Airbus Helicopters – although with securing orders for 170 commercial aircraft, buoyed by an order for 120 A320neo, the company’s name was still front and centre at the show.

Here we are rounding up all the civil helicopter orders publicly announced at the Dubai Air Show. If we have missed any others, email [email protected] and let us know.


Bell announced a 12-aircraft order with Horizon International Flight Academy. The Abu Dhabi operator ordered all 505 Jet Ranger Xs. The aircraft will be used for flight training to local and international students as well as for civilian and military pilots.

Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, chief executive officer, Horizon, said: “The addition of single-engine glass cockpits will enable us to meet the latest technology needs of aspiring pilots and will prepare them to fly with modern helicopters when they are back to their units.”

Total aircraft ordered: 12 Bell 505 Jet Ranger X

Customer: Horizon International Flight Academy

Estimated order value: $20.4 million



Leonardo helicopters announced multiple orders at the show. First off, it announced an order extension with Petroleum Air Services of Egypt for six AW139 for offshore transport operations in the region. The operator first deployed AW139s in 2009 and it has since racked up more than 12,900 flight hours and carried more than 95,000 passengers over the Mediterranean Sea.

Secondly, Leonardo also signed contracts for a total of five helicopters with Abu Dhabi Aviation. The orders include three AW139s and two AW169s which are all scheduled for delivery in 2020. The operator already owns 16 AW139 helicopters in its fleet but this is the first time it has utilised the AW169.

H.E. Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Aviation said: “This agreement has come to support the oil and gas industry inside and outside the UAE and to satisfy the transport, air-ambulance and other needs. It is in line with the Company’s strategy to expand its fleet of new generation aircraft in order to meet its customers’ needs, in light of the expected high demand in 2020.”

Total aircraft ordered: 11

Customers: Abu Dhabi Aviation and Petroleum Air Services

Estimated order value: $125 million



Aside from military orders, Russia’s state-owned manufacturer Rostec announced an agreement with Swedish operator Rotorcraft Nordic for ten of the upcoming VRT500 civil helicopters in a basic configuration. The aircraft will start delivery in 2023.

The order is dependant on the aircraft receiving EASA certification, which is scheduled for submission later this year.

Sergey Chemezov, director general of Rostec State Corporation said: “The VRT500 project, of course, is competitive and is of great interest to foreign customers. This is confirmed by the agreements reached on the margins of Dubai Airshow with the Emirate holding Tawazun and the Swedish partners from Rotorcraft Nordic AB.”

On top of the orders announced at the show, CEO H.E Tarq Abdul Rahim Al Hosani mentioned that it started negotiations to buy 200 VRT civilian helicopters to be used across both government and private entities.

Total aircraft ordered: 10

Customer: Rotorcraft Nordic

Estimated order value: N/A