Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Airbus Helicopters Canada Ltd. solidified their position as the North American market leader in civil and parapublic helicopters in 2016 despite a difficult market environment that saw a dramatic decline in total industry orders.
The companies delivered a combined 60 new helicopters to the civil and parapublic market in 2016, 50 percent of the total deliveries in North America. The two companies booked a total of 64 orders for new aircraft, or an estimated 73 percent of all new helicopter bookings in North America. In both deliveries and bookings, the companies increased their share of the North America helicopter market.
The solid performance in a down market reflects the value that customers place on the quality, productivity, and reliability of Airbus products, as well as a strong, ongoing commitment to improving customer support and all facets of the “Airbus Experience” for helicopter operators, said Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and head of the North America region.
“The North America team did an outstanding job of both bringing in new business and meeting commitments to existing customers in 2016,” said Emerson. “This is a sign that customers appreciate our strengthened commitment to providing both a high quality helicopter and outstanding service at every step of the sales and delivery process, as well as world-class customer support once the aircraft is in operation. Despite the challenging market conditions orders were booked from 20 new customers, including five that had not previously owned or operated a helicopter.”
New aircraft orders in 2016 included 33 H125 AStars built in the United States. The H125, which is produced by Airbus Helicopters Inc. at its plant in Columbus, Miss., is the highest performance single-engine helicopter available and is a market leader for law enforcement, air medical transport, utility and corporate/VIP customers. The Airbus H145 is quickly becoming a strong player in the North America market with seven orders in 2016. Airbus also booked orders for five earlier models in the H145 family, nine H130s and seven H135s.
Strong growth in business from corporate and VIP customers in 2016 softened the decline in sales in other market segments. “There is a growing awareness on the part of many executives, entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals that a helicopter can be an extremely useful transportation tool, not just a luxury,” said Emerson. “The sale of an H145 to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a prime example of an executive whose time is too valuable to spend stuck in traffic in a large metro area like Dallas.”
Airbus Helicopters Inc. also saw its military business flourish. The company delivered 35 UH- 72A Lakotas to the U.S. Army on time and on budget, and secured a new five-year, $1 billion contract from the Army to provide logistics support for Lakotas based both in the continental U.S. and outside.
Airbus Helicopters Inc., based in Grand Prairie, Texas and Airbus Helicopters Canada Ltd., based in Fort Erie, Ontario are both affiliates of Airbus.
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