Leonardo today announced a further important strengthening of its presence in the United States, through customer assistance services and technologies, with the official opening of its new Training Academy for helicopters, located in the same production plant in Philadelphia which also includes production and technical support for the American market. The launch of the new Training Academy was announced during the Heli-Expo international helicopter show in 2019 in Atlanta and, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was inaugurated two years later, in line with what was planned.
The new Philadelphia training facility is part of an $ 80 million investment in operations in the United States to provide services in response to the growing demand for training for pilots, crew members and maintenance technicians in the North and South. America. The Training Academy in the USA will reflect the services already provided by its Italian sister structure based in Sesto Calende (Varese) which offers training on the ground, in a virtual environment and in flight, also taking advantage of the simulation capabilities developed jointly by Leonardo and the Canadian company. CAE and managed through their joint venture Rotorsim. The Training Academy in the USA, already operational for customers, offers training services for the AW119, AW169, AW139 helicopter models and will also host training services for all customers in the world of the first tiltrotor intended to receive civil certification, the 'AW609. The Philadelphia facility, one of a kind, thus strengthens Leonardo's role as the only helicopter manufacturer in the world with the ability to independently design, develop, supply, qualify, support and use the most complete range of training systems, generating thus a simulated and virtual environment totally faithful to the real product.
Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo's Chief Executive Officer, said: “In our sector, only industrial entities with a clear vision, strategy and consistency in execution can aim for a long-term sustainable business and become strategic assets for their countries. We want to be considered a partner, not just a supplier, while continuing to deliver exceptional training services and experiences, and we integrate these capabilities into our unique helicopter offering, with the ambition to become the world leader in the industry. Advanced simulation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence - all present today in our Training Academy in the USA - are examples of this vision. This new structure can leverage the revolutionary technologies we are implementing and investments in a profound digitalization of our offer and our processes ".
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, added: “Our new Training Academy in the United States will help serve the largest helicopter market in the world and will be part of an ongoing process of customer engagement and growth of our offering. We continue to devote every possible effort to build a training culture as part of our 'value proposition', a real benefit for all our stakeholders, customers and end users ".
"We have deliberately created the Training Academy in the same area where our administrative offices, our production lines and our technical assistance center are located, not only with the intention of providing our customers with cutting-edge training with the use of more modern technology, but also to make them more aware of our organization and our culture. This also allows us to show how our product is made and maintained with constant attention to quality and safety ", said Bill Hunt, head of Leonardo's helicopter plant in the United States.
“I would like to congratulate Leonardo on completing the new Helicopter Training Academy in the US at its manufacturing facility and support center near Northeast Philadelphia Airport. I am proud of the commitment of the local staff for the construction of this training facility, completed in collaboration with Italian colleagues ", said Jim Kenney, mayor of Philadelphia.
Leonardo's first helicopter Training Academy was inaugurated in Sesto Calende, in the province of Varese, in 2006, completing its first year of activity with the training of 600 students including pilots and technicians. Within the period 2018-2020, the number has grown to an average of 10.000 students trained annually thanks to the growing global training network which now includes similar facilities in the UK, Poland and Malaysia, as well as several training centers. authorized. This last step taken in the USA confirms Leonardo's commitment to constantly improving the level of customer service.
Since 1980, Leonardo's helicopter business has considered Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, its home in the United States. Located at Northeast Philadelphia Airport (KPNE), just minutes from the Central Business District, the facility has grown over the past 40 years from a basic service center to a true Leonardo Helicopter Center of Excellence in the USA.
Leonardo is committed to providing comprehensive support and training services to ensure unprecedented benefits to customers in terms of safety, quality, effectiveness, cost and sustainability. These services are key elements of the Company's Be Tomorrow 2030 Strategic Plan.