Mexico’s civil aviation authority, the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC), has awarded a type certificate to Sikorsky’s S-76D helicopter. This follows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s award for the model in October 2012.
Sikorsky expects to make its first customer deliveries of the S-76D later this year. In March at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mexican helicopter service provider ASESA (Aeroservicios Especializados, S.A. de C.V.) confirmed an order six S-76D helicopters from Sikorsky to work in the offshore oil sector. This contract represented the first sale of an S-76D into Mexico. AESA will receive its first S-76D by the year’s end with the remaining five being delivered in 2014. AESA started leasing S-76++ helicopters in 2011.
S-76D at Heli-Expo in Bristow colors. Photo by Andrew Parker
Humberto Lobo, president of ASESA stated that the purchase would help to position the Mexican Aeronautical Industry “as a strategic provider of products and services.” In late October 2012 the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) authorized more than $50 million to guarantee a loan to ASESA so that it could finance the purchase.
According to the manufacturer, there are now at least 29 Sikorsky helicopters operating in Mexico, rising from six helicopters only five years ago.
Robert Kokorda, vice president of sales and marketing for Sikorsky, said that “with PEMEX’s [Petróleos Mexicanos] increasing exploration efforts in the Gulf, we expect more and more S-76D’s to be fielded there in the coming years.” Other customers for the new S-76D include the Milestone Aviation Group, China’s Ministry of Transport’s Rescue and Salvage Bureau, Japan Coast Guard, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and Bristow Group.
Related: Offshore News