QGAir orders new AW139s

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 25, 2017

The Queensland government has ordered for two new Leonardo AW139 helicopters for aeromedical retrieval, SAR and policing operations with Queensland Government Air (QGAir).

The new AW139s are part of a $47 million purchase of aerial assets for north Queensland announced on October 22 and will replace two older Bell 412s. Both new helicopters will be based in Townsville.

The government has also ordered a new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX, to be based in Cairns from March 2018, for policing operations.


“The two new AW139 helicopters replace two ageing Bell helicopters which are more than 20-years-old,” said Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan.

“They will have the ability to work with police and all emergency services, including aerial surveillance, search and rescue, and hospital patient transfers [and are] able to travel further and faster, providing more coverage for more Queenslanders.”

Both helicopters are expected to enter service by December 2018, joining three AW139s already in service with the QGAir.

QGAir operates five helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft from bases located in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa and Horn Island.


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  • Corey


    They should add to the order an additional 16 AW139s for Police SAR, Surveillance, pursuit and enforcement roles for a total order of 18 helicopters replacing the current AW139s in service at the same time. This would ensure 1 standard fleet within the QGAir/POLAIR along with LifeFlight QLD. All built within a short time period this would ensure there are no design/manufacture differences between legacy aircraft and the new aircraft. It would allow EMQ to have their fleet of 5 helicopters, the QPS to finally get the decent fleet of 10+ choppers they urgently need along with Life Flight being able to streamline their fleet as well replacing their 2 Toowoomba and 1 Bunderberg B412s to an all AW139 fleet. The Queensland Government should also work with Life Flight to build a whole new Maintenance hanger at their Brisbane (Archerfield) base. This would reduce overall long-term costs and also enable one shared warehouse of spare parts. The pilots could use the Lifeflight simulator to further reduce training costs as well. Win-win for everyone since the helos are going to be in service for 15 plus years.

  • Taurean Lea


    Wouldn’t it be nice to see B412s VH-ESB and VH-ESD go on display in a museum once they retire and that way we can all preserve a piece of QLD Emergency Services history for future generations :-D.

  • CA


    At near 12 M USD each and a near 7 tonne this helicopter is very large. Crowd mentality across the government agencies has driven this selection of aircraft. The AW139 is very capable but instead of ordering these huge machines perhaps a few more helis in the light twin area would suit the role demand of which you can buy 2 or 3 to 1 AW139’s. This way you can perform roles to most of the mission requirements with more aircraft providing better spread of locations to cover more population faster and with the same safety perameters

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