Daniele Romiti and AgustaWestland: a Retrospect

Daniele Romiti and AgustaWestland: a Retrospect

From the AW169 entry into service to the Leonardo rebranding through the AW609 development: we recalled AW's former CEO darkest and brightest moments

A five-year journey through a gamechanging period for the aerospace industry through an epic economic crisis for the helicopter industry. Daniele Romiti's experience at AgustaWestland (starting from 2013) and Leonardo Helicopters (from 2016) has been characterized by several key steps: the Leonardo rebranding, the AW169 entry into service, AW609 tiltrotor development and darker times (Herb Moran and Pietro Venanzi’s loss) until the introduction of new models and the evolution of the AW139 bestseller.

We took a look back at Daniele Romiti's key moments at Leonardo Helicopters.


In February 2013 Daniele Romiti is named new AgustaWestland CEO. At that time he was serving as Chief Operating Officer of the same company. Romiti entered in charge in the months following the outbreak of the bribery scandal in India, dating back to 2010. The manager was called to replace Bruno Spagnolini in a wider reorganization process carried out by the then Finmeccanica interim CEO Alessandro Pansa.

2013 is the year following the maiden flight of the AW169, one of the most important projects of the AW recent history. In 2013 the helicopters market was still stable after a good 2012 in terms of industry performances: great lessors kept placing important orders, Bristow got a UK SAR contract that would mark the first massive SAR deployment of the supermedium AW189.

2013 also marks the AW169 debut on an official occasion in Italy, at the HEMS Congress in Massa Cinquale, where the (then) 4-tonne helicopter - still in a test version -  arrived in front of the crowd piloted by chief test pilots Cpt. Giuseppe Lo Coco and Cpt. Giuseppe Afruni.


The year started with the AW189 EASA certification. Weeks later, a new member of the AW Family would be unveiled at HAI Heli Expo in Anaheim, CA: the AW109 Trekker, a rugged version of the already proven Grand.

2014 also marked the dawn of the O&G crisis, which meant the end of the most important segment of the industry, which boosted the development of new helicopters (AW189 among all) and pulled up companies and OEMs’ revenues for much of the previous decade.

The barrel price decline stared later in the year, while major manufacturers tried to consolidate their business: both Airbus and AgustaWestland received important orders, which would help building up the production backlog for the next five years.

2015 – THE AW609 TRAGEDY

In January 2015 AW169 entered production.

The year started with a massive agreement with Russia’s Rosneft for the licensed production of 160 AW189 helicopters in Tomilino Plant, Moscow.

HAI Heli Expo 2015, held in Orlando, saw the unveiling of the AW139 latest evolution: the AW bestseller gained weight at 7-tons  and reached its maturity peak.

On the same occasion, AgustaWestland announced a partnership with Bristow for the development of the AW609.

Mauro Moretti step in as Finmeccanica CEO.

In July 2015, EASA grants the AW169 certification.

2015 is also the year Airbus’ full-house of public tenders. The European manufactures won over the competition of the Italian manufacturer in South Korea, Poland (where the H225 Caracal won over the AW149 ) and in the UK, where Airbus won the tender for the supply of training helicopters for the local armed forces.

October 30, 2015 marks one of the darkest days for Agusta's history: test pilots Herb Moran and Pietro Venanzi, industry veterans, hugely respected professionals and well known characters among  the industry, lose their lives in the crash of one of the AW609 certification prototypes in Piedmontese campaigns during a test trial.


2016 starts in the name of the O&G crisis.

At HAI Heli Expo 2016, held in Louisville, Kentucky, industry questions its own future. Heavier offshore helicopters stay parked in lessors’ hangars due to a history-low remuneration index of oil platforms.

Mauro Moretti’s era opens with a major rebranding operation: Finmeccanica becomes Leonardo, AgustaWestland becomes Leonardo Helicopters.

The AW109 Trekker completes the maiden flight two-year after the HAI Heli Expo official unveiling.

The AW169 enters into service in Italy with Babcock Italia (then known as Inaer Aviation Italia) and is selected by REGA in an exclusive FIPS-equipped version as part of a major upgrading of the Swiss HEMS.

The AW609 test trials restart after a 10 months stop following the Santhia accident.


The first industry meeting of the year at Heli Expo 2017 (held in Dallas, Texas) opens with new deals announcements both for Airbus and Leonardo.

Daniele Romiti’s era closes with a remarkable result, as well as a proof of an important work in synergy with alpinist legend Simone Moro: the AW119Kx demo tour to Kathmandu in Nepal to validate the extension of the certification to 24,000 feet / 7,315 meters.

In mid-May 2017, Alessandro Profumo is named new CEO of Leonardo.

A metà maggio, Alessandro Profumo viene nominato nuovo CEO di Leonardo.

Se vuoi ricevere gli aggiornamenti di Helipress iscriviti alla nostra newsletter