Airbus seals helicopter deal with China
Airbus and a Chinese consortium made up of China Aviation Supplies (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter (COHC) have agreed to set up a final assembly operation to complete 100 H135 light-twin helicopters in Qingdao.
This deal is part of a letter of intent signed last year for an order worth US$788 million, Airbus said.
Airbus said the deal was signed at China’s Great Hall of People with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance.
The assembly line is expected to start operations by 2018 and will assemble 100 H135s over the next 10 years.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress of this partnership between Airbus Helicopters and our Chinese partners. With the further opening up of the Chinese skies and the increasing growth in the civil and parapublic segments, China is gearing up to be the biggest market for helicopters in years to come”, said Norbert Ducrot, head of Airbus Helicopters for China and North Asia. “With their inherent versatility and reliability, these 100 H135s will be best suited to meet the soaring demand in China”.
The H135 has gained popularity in China in recent years, performing various parapublic missions such as helicopter emergency medical services, law enforcement, firefighting, patrol command, and search and rescue, as well as corporate missions such as tourism and transportation.