Eurocopter has delivered the first of 20 Ecureuil family helicopters contracted last autumn by Russiaâ€™s UTair Aviation in the largest acquisition of its kind for the Russian and CIS market in the lightweight helicopter segment.
The initial helicopter provided in this order â€“ which was signed with the Eurocopter Vostok subsidiary â€“ is a single-engine AS350 B3. It is to be followed by deliveries of the enhanced AS350 B3e version, for which UTair is the launch customer in Russia, along with the twin-engine Ecureuil AS355 NP variant.
â€œUTair Aviation is actively involved in a wide range of helicopter operations including humanitarian missions for the U.N., charter flights to distant ant hardly accessible regions, surveillance and monitoring flights for oil and gas industry. Ecureuil helicopter has a proven track record carrying out such missions, and we are happy to expand our fleet with this high performance machine; we believe that the AS350 B3 will be very helpful in our job and will make it even more efficientâ€, said UTair Aviation General Director Andrey Martirosov.
The new helicopters are to be used for passenger transportation, oil and gas pipeline patrol missions, medical flights, and in external load cargo deliveries. They will join UTair Aviationâ€™s existing Eurocopter-built inventory of AS350 B3, AS355 N and EC130 B4 rotary-wing aircraft, which have been operated by the company since 2006, along with the BO105. Additionally, UTair Aviation is a launch customer for Eurocopterâ€™s new EC175, signing a firm contract earlier this year for 15 of the medium twin-engine helicopters.
â€œOur latest Ecureuil deliveries to UTair mark another milestone in Eurocopterâ€™s relationship with this strategic customer as we work in partnership to further evolve its operational capabilities and develop the business base,â€ explained Eurocopter Vostok CEO Laurence Rigolini. â€œIn the framework of this cooperation, a training academy and a certified maintenance center are being created at UTairâ€™s engineering facility in Tyumen â€“ which is fully aligned with Eurocopterâ€™s commitment to the safety and support of our customers around the globe.â€
Eurocopterâ€™s AS350 B3 is a high-performance, light single-engine helicopter adapted for extreme operating conditions, including at very high altitudes, and has the capability to transport heavy loads. The enhanced AS350 B3e version features an improved engine and new interior design, along with tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.
The cost-effective AS355 NP is a versatile lightweight twin-engine helicopter with a proven design for utility work, public service and passenger transport missions. It provides high standards in Category A operations, with excellent performance and new equipment such as the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD).
About UTair (www.utair.ru)
UTair is among the worldâ€™s top four civil helicopter operators by volume of operations, and the largest in Russia with a fleet of more than 250 helicopters of all types. 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, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people. In 2010, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the worldâ€™s number one helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of 4.8 billion Euros, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Groupâ€™s helicopters account for 33 percent of the total worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopterâ€™s strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 30 subsidiaries and participations on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centers. There are currently 11,200 Eurocopter helicopters in service and some 2,900 customers in 147 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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