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The Benefits Of VIP Heli-Travel

Leonardo, a VIP helicopter maker, highlights how luxury helicopters preserve users’ freedom, time-saving and safety    

The Grandnew, part of Leonardo's AW109 light twin series

Picture this; early evening, your private jet touches down at a major metropolitan airport; the sun setting at the end of another long business flight. Your family and young children are waiting for you at your isolated mansion in the countryside, another hour and a half’s drive from here.

Luckily, the plane’s airstair door opens and as you walk down the ramp, parked right in front is your state-of-the-art Leonardo helicopter, decked out in the same livery as your jet.

As the blades start whirring, you settle in for a short ride. The journey by helicopter will take a fraction of the time it would take by car at rush hour, giving you back precious time with your loved ones.

Inside the Grandnew

With a COVID-19 vaccine now tantalizingly in reach, many of us will already have started dreaming about travelling again.

But by the time borders re-open and leisure and business travel can finally recommence, many of us will have reassessed our priorities for good; and that may be spending more time with family or friends and less time wasted on journeys.  

The role of luxury helicopters is irreplaceable, says Paul de Jonge, VP Marketing at Leonardo Helicopters, one of the world’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) helicopter makers with more than 900 VIP helicopters flying worldwide, which equate to around a 40 percent market share of the global VIP and corporate multiengine helicopter market.

”Undoubtedly, what private users have experienced over nearly a year of travel restrictions and social distance has grown the need for independence in the choices they make about how to use the time available, where to go and how they can do it safely. VIP helicopters strongly contribute to meet their need for freedom and we are committed to providing them with the latest technology, best performance, highest comfort and safety standards as essential enablers of this ambition.”   

The AW169 VIP Helicopter

Headquartered in Rome, the company boasts the largest product range of VIP helicopters, comprising of over 10 models with the ability to carry out various travel missions from charter, scheduled flights, air-taxi, sightseeing, private, VVIP and Government.

Leonardo says that its most popular current models include the AW109 light twin series, in particular the GrandNew, a 4 or 6-seater helicopter which is the fastest in its class. It comes with a state-of-the-art digital cockpit and technology allowing flights in all weather conditions and reducing pilot workload.

The AW139 meanwhile, a medium-weight helicopter, is known as the best performing model in the most challenging situations, with room for 15 passengers. 

The light intermediate model AW169, with seat configuration accommodating 5 to 10 passengers, includes unique-in-class Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) ‘mode’ ensures mission-readiness with rotors stopped and enhanced ground safety.

Leonardo says there has also been a strong uptick in demand over years for its Heli-Yachting operations, part of the company that provides bespoke expertise to superyacht owners wishing to keep a helicopter onboard, in order to explore their surroundings when at anchor and to save time travelling to and from their vessel. It has also seen more enquiries from global governments, known for having the highest standards of safety and security.

Looking ahead to 2021, after a year of pandemic, time will seem all the more precious, and using it wisely may become our greatest challenge.