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CASA grants certification to Airbus H160

written by Adam Thorn | June 7, 2024

The Airbus H160 flies in Canada.

Airbus’s next-generation H160 is set to debut in Australia soon after CASA granted the helicopter certification.

The 12-seat aircraft, first unveiled in 2015, is designed for various missions, including search and rescue, law enforcement and high-intensive care patient transport.

It comes after the H160 was certified by safety authorities in countries including the Japan, the US and India.

Cory Latiolais, the APAC COO at aeromedical service provider PHI Aviation, said his firm would initially introduce the H160 in the Gulf of Mexico, supporting customers in the US.

“This is an exciting time as we bring forth new technology for more safe and efficient operations,” he said.

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“With our recent Airbus global framework purchasing agreement that includes the H160, we believe this aircraft is perfectly suited for Australian conditions and will be specifically competitive for offshore transport and Emergency Medical Services or Search and Rescue missions.”

There are currently 30 H160s operating globally, and the type has already accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours in under three years.

The aircraft is positioned to stand between Airbus H145 and H175 and features noise-reducing rotor blades, a canted Fenestron tail rotor and the latest avionics suite.

“We are excited about the H160 certification from CASA, which underscores Australia’s confidence and trust in our product,” said Christian Venzal, Airbus Helicopters Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Airbus Helicopters.

It follows Australian Aviation reporting this week how Qantas’ Project Sunrise is a step closer to fruition after the fuel tanks on its modified Airbus A350-1000s received a green light from regulators.

Speaking at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) AGM in Dubai, Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson confirmed the ultra-long-haul flights between the east coast and London and New York – set to be the longest in the world – are on track to launch in roughly two years.

Qantas has had 12 of the special A350s on order since 2022, which will be fitted with extra fuel tanks to make the 22-hour flights possible and will be configured with only 238 seats: six first class, 52 business, 40 premium economy, and 140 economy.

The design of the rear centre tank has now been approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), smoothing the way for the aircraft to enter production.

“We’re working very closely with Airbus, and the first aircraft is due to arrive from mid-2026. It’s passed all the certifications now, so we’re feeling very optimistic about the delivery timetable,” Hudson said.

“This is going to be a fundamental part of our network structure.”

Project Sunrise was originally slated to launch next year but was delayed to 2026 due to “manufacturing issues” at Airbus.

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