Sikorsky has many reasons to celebrate at this year’s Heli-Expo in Las Vegas with the 90th anniversary of the company and impressive order announcements valued at more than $800 million.
On the first day of the show, Sikorsky announced an order from Houston-based Bristow Group for up to 26 S-76D helicopters used for offshore oil transport. Later the same day, Sikorsky executives ceremoniously signed contracts with helicopter leasing company Milestone Aviation, based in Dublin, Ireland, for 23 S-92s and seven S-76Ds with options for another 24 helicopters.
Additional orders were announced on Wednesday for two S-76Ds to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, six S-76Ds to a Mexican helicopter service provider and four S-76Ds to China’s Ministry of Transport. Sikorsky’s director of commercial programs Dan Hunter said the 2013 production is sold out for both the S-92 and S-76D, and that 2014 is likely to be sold out soon as well. Referring to the success of the S-76D since its certification last year, Hunter’s comment that “aircraft sell aircraft” may be true.
The Sikorsky booth at Heli-Expo boasts a historical timeline displaying significant pictorial milestones beginning with the company’s inception in 1923. Vintage clad ladies and gentlemen roam the booth, which also has an S-92 adorned with a large image of the company’s founder Igor Sikorsky. At a celebratory event on Tuesday, Sikorsky’s son Sergei spoke eloquently of his father, who he described as a gentleman who never lost his temper. Sikorsky closed with a Russian proverb: “Weep not that he has gone. Be glad that he was.”
Igor Sikorsky started Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation at a chicken farm in New York with a dozen volunteer employees. The company today has about 16,000 employees worldwide, said Sikorsky’s president Mick Maurer. Maurer also announced that the company saw a record number of orders last year, sales he attributes to the increasing demand for helicopters in the oil industry and the increasing distance to offshore oil rigs. With this week’s announcements, 2013 is likely to be a strong year, too.