SonAir orders two AW139 helicopters to strengthen energy industry support operations in Angola

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Leonardo announced that SonAir Airline Services, S.A. (SonAir), owned by the Angolan national petroleum company Sonangol, has placed an order for two AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters.

The contract includes 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 & Gas industry and replacing ageing helicopters, with deliveries expected in 1Q 2023.

The Angolan and overall African energy market is showing significant potential for Leonardo’s latest generation helicopter models. The African Oil&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 which is 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% of the existing offshore helicopter fleet still made of old design types, Leonardo’s state-of-the-art 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’s 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 state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits.

Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. Organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defence electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio. Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technology and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber & Security Solutions and Space).

Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in 2021 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of €14.1 billion and invested €1.8 billion in Research and Development. The company has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) since 2010 and has been confirmed among the global sustainability leaders in 2021. Leonardo is also included in the MIB ESG index.


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