Aramco completes fleet renewal programme

The Milestone Aviation Group completed the final delivery in the Saudi Aramco medium helicopter fleet renewal programme in February.

Flexible: The AW139 can perform a wide range of roles. Picture: Leonardo Helicopters.

The programme, first announced in July 2018, saw the delivery of 21 high-spec Leonardo AW139 helicopters to the Saudi oil company, while five Airbus H145 helicopters also formed part of the deal.

Aramco also extended the leases of two further AW139 helicopters.

Aramco awarded the medium and light-twin fleet renewal contract to Dublin Ireland-based Milestone, and Leonardo, after a competitively tendered process.

Milestone, an aircraft operating lease company focusing exclusively on the helicopter market, had the ability to offer a solution for the entire medium helicopter fleet. This, along with the proven capabilities of the AW139, and the two companies’ previous successful partnership, were key factors in the decision.

Aramco’s relationship with Milestone began in 2016, when it leased three AW139s.

The AW139 is the best-selling twin-engine helicopter in its class, with more than 1,000 units in service with customers worldwide. The aircraft has outstanding single-engine performance, even in extreme temperatures and harsh conditions, making it ideally suited for Aramco’s operations.

The AW139 can perform a wide range of roles, and the 21 aircraft delivered to Aramco include oil and gas, and search-and-rescue (SAR) configurations.

Aramco is one of the largest operators of Leonardo helicopters in the Middle East. It has been operating a fleet of seven lightweight AW109s since 2006, and 14 AW139 twin-engine multi-role helicopters since 2008, principally to perform offshore transport missions in support of the oil and gas industry.

Its fleet renewal programme will ensure it has a fleet with state-of-the-art avionics, a high level of cabin flexibility, and the most stringent safety standards, together with excellent payload, range and speed.

Claire Brugirard, vice president commercial - Africa and Middle East at Milestone, said that Aramco’s commitment to this fleet renewal programme was: “a testament to the benefits of leasing and we are incredibly proud to support them in their oil and gas missions across Saudi Arabia”.

Jon Lake

Jon Lake

Jon is defence editor for both Arabian and African Aerospace magazines.