Weststar to introduce Leonardo tiltrotor in Southeast Asia
May 24, 2023 By Helicopters Staff
Leonardo and Weststar Aviation Services of Malaysia celebrated technological and commercial development agreements and a sustainability milestone during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.
Weststar will introduce the AW609 tiltrotor in Malaysia through the operation of one aircraft under a lease contract. The AW609 program, explains Leonardo, is the world’s first multirole tiltrotor designed to obtain civil certification. The partnership with Weststar will mark the entry of this all-new type aircraft in Southeast Asia.
Founded in 2003, Weststar, described as a regional offshore helicopter transportation services provider, now operates more than 35 AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters out of its bases in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Mauritania, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. It is one of the world’s largest commercial operators of Leonardo helicopters.
Weststar will use the AW609 for a range of missions in the country, with Leonardo supplying initial training and maintenance support, as well as working with the operator for aircraft demonstration purposes.
“This ground-breaking aircraft will revolutionize our operational capabilities, providing us with a versatile platform to fulfil our various missions,” said Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Group Managing Director of The Weststar Group. “We are proud to be the pioneer in bringing the world’s first multirole tiltrotor to Southeast Asia.”
Weststar also signed a contract for five more AW139 intermediate twin helicopters in an offshore configuration for additional support of the regional energy industry. On May 22, an existing Weststar AW139 in VIP configuration performed a first demonstration flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in Malaysia, taking off from Subang Airport (home to Leonardo in Malaysia) bound for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.
The SAF fuel was supplied by PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB), in collaboration with Neste, and marked a first in Malaysia for helicopters. “This achievement exemplifies our commitment to harnessing innovative solutions driving positive change in the industry,” said Tan Sri Syed Azman.
“We remain dedicated to shaping a greener future for the aviation industry and reducing carbon emissions across borders.”
With a regional hub for customer support and training near Kuala Lumpur, Leonardo has been present in the region for many years, with hundreds of helicopters performing missions such as offshore and passenger transport, utility, homeland security, law enforcement, SAR, emergency medical services, maritime patrol, military naval roles and armed reconnaissance.
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