EADS – or “European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V” to give it its full title – has decided to rename itself Airbus Group, and will be aligning all its subsidiaries accordingly. According to this press release, The Airbus Group will consist of three Divisions:
* Airbus, responsible for all commercial aircraft activities – so no change there
* Airbus Defence & Space, home to the Group’s defence and space activities including Military Transport Aircraft – this will consume Airbus Military, Astrium and Cassidian
* Airbus Helicopters, comprising all commercial and military helicopter activities – effectively the renaming of Eurocopter.
Yes, you read that right, Eurocopter are to be renamed Airbus Helicopters. So the Tiger attack helicopter will become the Airbus Tiger, the EC225 will be the Airbus EC225 (or AB225?) and the Panther could become the Airbus AB365M3.
The HeliHub.com team have scoured over 20 widely-used aviation forums and have found NO SUPPORT for the rename at all in the helicopter sector. None. Various offers of using something like “Eurocopter – an Airbus company” have been seen, along with derisory remarks about product names moving from EC to AB – which we all know represents AgustaWestland and Bell in partnership.
Eurocopter is a well-respected and successful company and brand, and they are throwing it away. EADS has built up a reputation with that name, particularly in military markets, and it will now be known by a civilian airliner brand name. They will find it much more difficult to compete in military markets because of the subconcious knowledge of Airbus being a civilian brand.
Will pilots flying EC225s on the North Sea now be known as “Bus drivers”??
Certainly there have been helicopter manufacturers changing owner and name in the past, just not on this scale, and not with the brand implications this one brings with it. Part of Hughes became MD – really McDonnell-Douglas behind the scenes but we all called it MD. Another part of Hughes became Schweizer, and while they were famous for gliders and agricultural aircraft, it was a respected name which made similar size aircraft.
It would appear that website domain names will be transferred over to www.airbus-helicopters.** (where ** can be in a wide range of country codes), as most of those domains have been bought and registered to an address in Marseilles, France, or via a nominee called CSC Corporate Domains. We assume that the version without the hyphen – airbushelicopters – has been avoided because of the problem of reading it as “air bush helicopters”, but they have failed to reserve all those domains and the following are still available as we publish this article, and are at risk of domain hijackers:-
On top of that, the name Airbus Helicopters has 17 characters and the limit on a username on Twitter is 15. Another shot in the foot. Perhaps the AirbusHeli account is their new one?
There’s an Airbus Helicopters Facebook page which is “Official Page…. Soon to be online…” which was only created at 11.00 CET on 31st July!
Ludicrous. PR disaster. We expect most Eurocopter employees will be embarassed. Just imagine the “Pratt & Whitney S76D” or the “Cessna 429” or the “Selex GrandNew”. You just couldn’t comprehend any of those, yet EADS has done a similar and silly thing to Eurocopter.
How Eurocopter’s competitors must be laughing right now.
Ben Haverdee – HeliHub.com
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