A Chinese consortium made up of China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS), Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company (Qingdao United) and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd (COHC) has placed a massive order for 100 Airbus Helicopters H135 light-twin helicopters.
Airbus Helicopters will also launch a H135 final assembly line (FAL) in Qingdao, Shandong province on the basis of this order. The Letter of Intent (LOI) for the purchase of 100 H135s had been signed last year and sales contract is valued at €700 million.
The final assembly line (FAL) in Qingdao is expected to commence operations by 2018 and current plans call for the assembly of 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 China and North Asia region.
The H135 is a highly popular rotorcraft type in China, as a result of its versatility in being able to perform a range of missions ranging from helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), law enforcement, firefighting, patrol command, and search and rescue (SAR), to corporate missions such as tourism and transportation.
Airbus Helicopters has forecast a potential demand of 600 light twin-engine helicopters in China over the next 20 years.