Bell’s Designer series 429 made its Southeast Asian debut at the show. Photo: Bell

Bell Textron came to the Singapore Air Show revealing a raft of recent orders and deliveries across the Asia-Pacific region, the Designer Series Bell 429 making its first appearance in Southeast Asia, and the promise of Bell 525 certification “very soon”, according to Sameer Rehman, Managing Director Asia-Pacific, Bell.

Bell revealed over the past year it has signed purchase agreements for seven new Bell 505s to be operated in the region, in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Malaysian helicopter services provider Hammock Helicopter, which specialises in maintenance, repair and overhaul work, has signed a purchase agreement for two Bell 505s in corporate configuration for delivery this year.

The manufacturer has also secured purchase agreements for two aircraft in Malaysia, while a helicopter operator in Indonesia and four corporate clients in the Philippines each signed contracts for one Bell 505, increasing the Bell 505 fleet serving Southeast Asia by seven aircraft. More than 100 Bell 505s are already flying in Asia-Pacific.

In addition, Meghna Aviation and Ginger Aviation have each taken delivery of a Bell 407GXi, making them the first commercial operators of the type in Bangladesh and Taiwan, respectively. Meghna Aviation’s Bell 407GXi will be used to support its corporate, leisure and utility helicopter charter business and becomes the biggest commercial operator in Bangladesh.

Ginger Aviation’s Bell 407GXi will address a growing demand for helicopter powerline wash and inspections.

Sky Yard Aviation in the Philippines, meanwhile, recently took delivery of a highly customised Bell 429, bringing the total number of Bell 429s operating in the Philippines to 12. The Bell 429 has been outfitted to Sky Yard’s specifications, featuring custom paint and interiors with bespoke interior fittings tailored to meet their private aviation needs.

“The Philippines remains a key growth market for Bell and especially the Bell 429,” said Rehman.

The delivery of Sky Yard’s aircraft brings the number of 429s active in the Philippines to 12. Photo: Bell

Also in the Philippines, aviation and agriculture group Aerobee Corporation has taken delivery of the first Bell 407GXi in the country. Aerobee’s Bell 407GXi comes equipped with an auto-pilot feature and a new interior with better support for connectivity with mobile devices and computers.

The manufacturer showcased the Designer Series Bell 429 for the first time in Southeast Asia at the show. The helicopter features superior leathers specially tailored to cover seats, consoles, door accent panels and headliner, as well as enhanced hardwood flooring and improved upholstery.

Bell is “all guns blazing” in the Asia-Pacific region, Rehman told RotorHub International, with the Bell 505 finding success in every segment and the Bell 429 receiving a strong response and finding success with police agencies in the region.

The gem in the portfolio, however, will be the Bell 525, which will be certificated “very soon”, Rehman assured RotorHub International. It is perfectly suited to the para-public market and will change the way people commute, he said.

Bell intends to maintain the momentum in the region, with Rehman anticipating that Indonesia and the Philippines will continue to be “the anchor nations going forward”, with the Indian market expected to take off in late 2024/early 2025 following the elections and China activity to grow in all segments once it fully recovers from the pandemic.

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