Russiaâ€™s UTair will acquire 20 AS350/AS355 light helicopters in a new agreement that extends this leading rotary-wing aircraft operatorâ€™s long-term strategic relationship with Eurocopter.
The acquisition contract was signed by Andrey Martirosov, the Director of UTair Aviation, and Eurocopter Vostok CEO Laurence Rigolini, in the presence of Christian Gras, Executive Vice president â€“ Customers – for the Eurocopter Group. It covers the deliveries of 20 single-engine AS350 B3 and twin-engine AS355 NP versions of Eurocopterâ€™s Ecureuil lightweight helicopter family beginning in the summer of 2011 and continuing through the spring of 2013.
â€œThe growth of UTairâ€™s fleet with these 20 Ecureuils will strengthen our leadership position on the worldwide helicopter market, as these lightweight helicopters perfectly meet the highest industry standards and are very welcomed by our customers in Russia and worldwide,â€ Andrey Martirosov said.
This is the largest Russian order in the lightweight helicopter category, according to Eurocopter Executive Vice President Gras. â€œThe implementation of this program illustrates a new level of partnership between our two organizations, and inaugurates a new era for the commercial use of Eurocopter single engine helicopters in Russia,â€ added Christian Gras.
UTair has been operating Eurocopter helicopters since 2006. Its fleet currently includes the following Eurocopter types – AS350B3, AS355N and BO105 â€“ which are flown in a wide variety of missions that range from VIP services and oil/gas industry support to medical missions. The company also is a launch customer for Eurocopterâ€™s EC175, with the intention to order 15 of these medium-weight twin-engine helicopters, plus 15 options.
â€œThe new Ecureuil order represents an outstanding achievement in the further build-up of our relationship with this strategic customer, and it confirms that Eurocopter products are meeting the extreme operational requirements of UTair. In the framework of UTairâ€™s cooperation with Eurocopter, a certified maintenance center and a training academy are being created at UTairâ€™s engineering base in the Tyumen â€“ which will improve the support of this Russian operatorâ€™s fleet, as well, as for other customers in the country,â€ said Eurocopter Vostok CEO Laurence Rigolini.
About the AS350 B3 and AS355 NP
Eurocopterâ€™s AS350 B3 high-performance, light single-engine helicopter is adapted to extreme operating conditions (including very high altitudes) and the transportation of heavy loads. The AS350 B3 outclasses all other helicopters in its category for power, flexibility, safety, and low acquisition and maintenance costs. Fast and comfortable, the AS350 B3 also is an excellent business helicopter. Today, a total of 13 AS350 B3s are operational in Russia and the CIS.
The AS355 NP is a lightweight, versatile and cost-effective twin-engine helicopter with a proven design for utility work, public services and passenger transport missions. This latest version of the Ecureuil family provides high standards in Category A operations, with excellent performance and new equipment â€“ such as the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD). In Russia and the CIS, 20 AS355s currently are in operation.
About UTair (www.utair.ru)
UTair is among the worldâ€™s top four civil helicopters operators by volume of operations, and the largest in Russia with a fleet of more than 250 helicopters of all types â€“ primarily Mil and Eurocopter. Active in the oil and gas industry for over 40 years, UTair Aviation also is the largest provider of transport services for United Nations peacekeeping missions.
About Eurocopter Vostok (www.eurocopter.ru)
Eurocopter Vostok, a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of Eurocopter SAS, was created in 2006 to provide sales, customer support, and to implement fleet follow-up in Russia and the CIS. More than 140 Eurocopter helicopters currently are operating throughout Russia and the CIS countries â€“ bringing the Eurocopter Groupâ€™s share of the Russian and CIS gas turbine market for Western turbine-engine helicopters to more than 70 percent.
About Eurocopter (www.eurocopter.com)
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.