Eurocopterâ€™s collaboration with Airbus on the new A350 XWB long-haul airliner, took a new dimension yesterday in the signing of a major contract at the Eurocopter facility in DonauwÃ¶rth. The number one helicopter manufacturer has been chosen to develop and manufacture the door systems for the most recent member of the Airbus fleet. The contract for the development, production and delivery of all passenger and cargo doors for the A350 XWB was signed on behalf of Airbus by Klaus Richter, Executive Vice President Procurement, and on behalf of Eurocopter Deutschland by Dr. Wolfgang Schoder, CEO. The ceremony was attended by high-ranking government officials, including Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Hintze, and by Dr. Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of the Eurocopter Group. The 1.5 billion euro contract represents a further step in the process of generating synergies between helicopter manufacturing and the design of aircraft doors in general.
By assuming responsibility for the development and manufacture of all A350 XWB doors, Eurocopter has reached another milestone in its efforts to be recognized as a fully-fledged systems provider. â€œThis A350 XWB contract with Airbus, which gives us the go-ahead for the production phase, is of decisive importance to the future sustainability of our manufacturing site in Germany,â€ declared Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of the Eurocopter Group. â€œIt confirms our position as an experienced and highly skilled manufacturer of aircraft components, rather than merely as a leader in the helicopter business,â€ he added. â€œIt also confirms that our Center of Excellence for Airplane Door Systems is on the right track by shifting its focus from traditional metal structures to new manufacturing technologies based on composite materials.â€œ
More than 150 Eurocopter engineers have been involved in the conceptual design, development and pre-production phases of this project since it was launched in 1997. An estimated budget of nearly 1.5 billion euros has been set aside to cover the total expenditure on door systems for the planned family of A350 XWB aircraft, including work subcontracted to program partners in South Korea. It is a worthwhile investment, given that, once series production starts, it will secure up to 500 jobs in DonauwÃ¶rth and the surrounding region. Delivery of the first door systems is scheduled for the end of 2010, initially for testing.
Parliamentary State Secretary and coordinator of the German federal government for the aerospace industry Peter Hintze congratulated Eurocopter on being selected as the sole supplier of all A350 XWB passenger and cargo doors, and hailed this as a clear signal to the aerospace industry that Germany intends to maintain its lead in this high-technology sector. Hintze also stressed that, â€œas well as confirming Eurocopterâ€™s power in innovation, this contract will also secure a considerable number of jobs in Bavaria. Moreover, the companyâ€™s achievements serve as an outstanding example of manufacturing excellence in Germany.â€
In total, Eurocopter has over 1,000 employees working on the development, production, and after-sales service of aircraft components.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the worldâ€™s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Groupâ€™s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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